Rethink Your Mind: Rochester researcher's musical hit

Written by Crucial PR on .



A ROCHESTER researcher’s winning words are to be turned into an urban fusion hit to bang the drum for positive mental health.

Ella Zellaby has never entered a competition before, but she got creative in a mid-project work slump and her poem I Feel Life was picked for Rubie Colt’s new single for awareness raising project Rethink Your Mind.

“I’m thrilled. I’ve never won anything in my life,” says Ella, 32, who says she has scribbled down her thoughts in poetry since she was a child.

“I wouldn’t call myself a poet, and I’m under no illusions that my poem is brilliant. But it’s very real, very me and hopefully will resonate with people and lift them a little, reminding them that life is out there, beckoning.”

Her poem was selected by a star-studded judging panel, including acclaimed poets Jean Binta Breeze, Adam Horovitz, and Lydia Towsey.

As well as seeing her words enshrined in music, Ella gets an iPad and will join five other winners at the May 1 presentation at the House of Lords, hosted by project supporter Professor Lord Patel of Bradford OBE.

Her words will also feature on the website and in a hardback book, aimed at providing a valuable mental health help guide that will link up support organisations with the people who need them most. 

Nationwide organisations, mental health groups and NHS Trusts are given a free platform in the project, launched by Midlands-based community interest company SISO (Safe Inside, Safe Outside) and Citizens’ Eye.

Rethink Your Mind is the brainchild of SISO Development Worker and Refuge lead singer Peter Hirst, who hopes the project will get people talking positively about mental health.

His band Refuge will also release a single featuring winning lyrics and artwork.

Project supporters include the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, the Samaritans and NSUN (National Survivor User Network) one of the charitable organisations for which part time researcher Ella volunteers.

“I needed a break from my research and thought it would be fun to take up the Rethink Your Mind creative challenge. I was impressed that the competition was open to everyone, regardless of ability, and I’m all for promoting mental health,” she says.

Ella has a Masters degrees in Human Rights and in Research for the Institute of Psychiatry. She is also severely dyspraxic and has been diagnosed with  NVLD (Non Verbal Learning Disability).

“My disabilities don’t define who I am. Nor does the fact I have had a long battle with depression,” she says.

“I hate the stigmatising divide between the mentally ill and the mentally well. Mental health affects us all and has a massive impact on our effectiveness, happiness, connectivity and quality of life. 

“The focus should be on mental wellbeing and the more people talk, and understand, about mental health, the better.”

“Rethink Your Mind is all about celebrating creativity shattering the stigmas and reaching the thousands of people who may feel like they’re suffering alone,” adds Peter, who has Bipolar.

“It’s such an exciting project to be part of and I can’t wait to sing Ella’s lyrics,” says Rubie.

The hardback book, which includes 20 pages of SISO recovery material and a foreword by Professor Lord Patel of Bradford OBE, will be made available to all supporting NHS Trusts.

Both the book and the Rubie Colt and Refuge CDs will be launched on July 1.


1. For more information, please email">

2. We can provide Ella’s poem I Feel Life in full, if you would like to publish or broadcast it.

3. The six winners are:  Andy Gardiner , Tiverton, Devon (Rubie Colt CD cover artwork); David Holloway Bedford (B side Rubie Colt CD Poem and artwork in book); Saiqa Parveen, Halifax (B side Refuge CD Poem); Stephanie Rose, Bo‘ness, West Lothian, Scotland (A side Refuge CD Lyrics); Lucy Whitehouse, Worcs (Refuge CD cover artwork); Ella Zellaby, Rochester, Kent  (A side Rubie Colt CD Lyrics).

4. There are 40 other poems and artworks selected for the hardback book. A full list can be found on the website

5. The full list of judges is: Artist Gary Hodges: Poet and Performer Jean Binta Breeze; Photographer and Printmaker Jenny Escritt; Artist Steven McLoughlin, Photographer Keith Cooper, Poet and Performer Lydia Towsey; Poet and Performer Adam Horovitz; Artist Sally Waterman.

6. SISO empowers mental health service users to become valued, active members of their communities and works to reduce stigma associated with mental health. SISO promotes self-management, hope and optimism. For more information please log onto

7. For more information about Citizens’ Eye, please log onto