Mission, Strategies & Principles
The Lived Experience Research Network (LERN) promotes service user/survivor leadership and inclusion in behavioral health and disabilities research, advanced clinical practice, and program evaluation to advance inclusion and social justice. LERN supports service user/survivor-identified students, researchers and evaluators, and is inclusive of those in academic, governmental, and community-based research/training settings. LERN advocates for increased accessibility in research and evaluation settings, social justice, and policy change, and aims to strengthen ties between stakeholders in the health and disabilities fields: community members, advocates, policy-makers, and researchers.
1. Collaborating on concrete projects that contribute to research and evaluation capacity-building among community-based user/survivors that narrow the gap between advocacy and research.
2. Developing and maintaining a communications network to provide mutual support and the exchange of ideas between service user/survivor students, researchers and advocates across the United States.
3. Establishing a unified national voice for user/survivors in research, clinical, and evaluation settings with the capacity to rapidly respond to significant events and policy decisions, issue press releases, and liaise with policy makers, political leaders and the media.
4. Tracking and responding to national and local issues regarding the intersections of mental health/disability, research and higher education that affect user/survivor leadership and involvement by initiating national and local dialogues about issues that are in need of attention.
5. Contributing to the development and evaluation of alternatives to mainstream intervention and mental health services that promote the empowerment, recovery and community integration of individuals labeled with psychiatric disorders.
1. Behavioral health research, policy, and advocacy should consistently take into account the intersections of disability, health status, trauma, race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and class on etiology, recovery, and social change.
2. Efforts towards promoting social justice, by definition, must be inclusive of individuals and communities with diverse backgrounds and experiences and attentive to enduring power hierarchies and processes of minority exclusion and/or marginalization.
3. Our research and advocacy are based on the principles of equifinality and multifinality: Heterogeneity in experiences and characteristics may lead to similar outcomes; Homogeneity in these experiences and characteristics may lead to different outcomes for different individuals.
News & Updates
Read our latest blogposts: New Undergrad Internship Program Fundraising Campaign and Beyond Basic Science
Follow us on twitter: @LERNetwork
See our Fall 2013 Issue Briefs on research, advocacy, and first person accounts
Check out our Discrimination in Higher Ed project: we now have close to 40 postsecondary reports
Visit our new Get Involved page
Donate to LERN (matched by a 1:1 grant from the FEMHC):