Rethink Your Mind: Halifax poet's winning words

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A TALENTED Halifax poet’s winning words will get pride of place on a band’s hit to bang the drum for mental health.

Saiqa Parveen’s poem Mirror will be read out on the B side of acoustic band Refuge’s new single for awareness-raising project Rethink Your Mind.

The 30 year-old’s words were chosen by a star-studded judging panel, including acclaimed poets Jean Binta Breeze, Adam Horovitz, and Lydia Towsey.

“It was such a shock to win. I send off my poems all the time, but this is the first time I’ve even got a reply, so to win was wonderful,” says Saiqa.

As well as seeing her work enshrined on the CD, Saiqa gets an iPad and will join other winners at the May 1 presentation at the House of Lords, hosted by project supporter Professor Lord Patel of Bradford OBE.

Her work will also feature on the website and in the 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, including the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, 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, whose band will also release a CD featuring winning words and artwork. Peter hopes the project will get people talking positively about mental health.

““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 hear Saiqa’s poem brought to life,” 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.

The poetry of two other Halifax people - Safoora Masood’s Bus Journey and Kauser Parveen’s I know - are featured on the website and in the book, along with a poem by Holmfirth’s Anne Broadbent.  

Refuge’s CD and urban fusion artist Rubie Colt’s single - both of which feature winning artwork and lyrics - will be released on July 1.


1. For more information, please email">

2. We can provide Saiqa Parveen’s poem Mirror 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; Steven McLoughlin artist, Keith Cooper Photographer  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