Abstract: Research participants are crucial to the entire research enterprise, but they are still predominantly conceived as mostly passive, ‘silent’ partners in the field of research ethics. Participants generally have very limited opportunities to share their lived experiences of participation in research and their views about the ethics of research. This gap is particularly concerning for research participants whose agency is already undermined by unjust social structures, such as individuals living with mental illness. Our study investigates the perspectives on research of mental health research participants and mental health advocates in Canada. We found that many participants had positive experiences of participation in research and valued their experience. The positive impacts of research participation, however, depend the willingness of researchers to actively create an accessible and respectful research environment.