This article begins by locating Patient and Public involvement ((PPI) historically and argues that ‘mental health’ was a special case. This movement held promise for service users in repositioning them as researchers as opposed to ‘subjects’. We argue, however, that ultimately it failed and was reduced to involved publics ‘tinkering at the edges’. In respect to this we reference institutions, hierarchies, organisations and the overall political climate. Ultimately, however, it failed at the level of knowledge itself in that t he underlying assumptions of conventional researchers, their aims and goals, clashed with those of the assumptions and aims of survivors. However, we argue that all is not lost, the mainstream itself is imploding and beneath the surface forms of distinctly survivor-led knowledge are emerging.