The Global Mental Health Peer Network (GMHPN) is an international peer-led organisation that builds capacity among people with lived experience of a mental health condition through empowerment, mentorship and support. The organisation has an established Experts by Experience Consultancy Services unit that is unique in that it involves only persons with lived experience in the delivery of its services and ensure diverse perspectives within required contexts.

GMHPN values the voices and experiences of people with mental health conditions and whose platform creates a safe and engaging communication environment for individuals to share their experiences, opinions and recommendations related to mental health. It provides for a global network of peer led leadership and advancement in individuals’ advocacy journeys and/or career paths. It embodies ideals of empowerment, enablement and development from local towards global advocacy efforts in changing the status quo of mental health around the world. It advocates for the meaningful and authentic inclusion and participation of persons with lived experience in all matters related to mental health, by which they are directly affected.

GMHPN is exclusively and completely represented by persons living with mental health conditions, whose expertise is invaluable. Collectively, and across six world regions, our organisation and its members work towards the common goal of uniting perspectives and recommendations from our members to inspire change. Our expertise bring about practical solutions which derive from our own lived experiences in mental health. We aim to improve mental health and human rights literacy, transform policies and practices, and with the main objective of destigmatising mental health and reducing discrimination against persons living with mental health conditions.

GMHPN fills the gap that exists in global mental health reform, policy and practice, in that its members provide the most honest and forthcoming opinions and solutions on themes trending across the world as far as mental health is concerned. People with lived experience are experts by their own right stemming from their personal journeys in navigating mental health systems, care and treatment towards recovery.

International human rights instruments call for equality and recognition of the value of all people, including people with psychosocial disabilities/ mental health conditions, towards advancing socio-economic and sustainable development.

International strategies and related documents emphasise the same by acknowledging the importance of placing people with lived experience of mental health conditions at the centre of policy and practice, thereby ensuring that people with lived experience and their representative organisations are meaningfully and authentically included in engagement and decision-making processes.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities notes the commitment to “recognizing the valued existing and potential contributions made by persons with disabilities to the overall well-being and diversity of their communities, and that the promotion of the full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of their human rights and fundamental freedoms and of full participation by persons with disabilities will result in their enhanced sense of belonging and in significant advances in the human, social and economic development of society and the eradication of poverty”.

WHO World Mental Health Report: Transforming Mental Health for All (2022) notes that “People with lived experience are crucial stakeholders in mental health. Their participation is vital to improve mental health systems, services and outcomes. Such participation includes full empowerment and involvement in mental health advocacy, policy, planning, legislation, programme design, service provision, monitoring, research and evaluation”.

Based on the above, the GMHPN aligns its work on the evidence of the value of lived experience integration into research, policy, service development and delivery, stigma reduction, and training of healthcare professionals, of which the benefits are evident on multiple levels.

Summary of relevant work: 

Paarl, Western Cape, South Africa

Key partners: 

Ember Kokoro IIMHL MGMH Eucoms ConnectedMinds


Open Society Foundations

Seeking collaboration with: 
Other organizations
Experts by experience/service users
Policy makers
South Africa