How We Started
Retune was founded by Tom Ryder. Tom is a musician and journalist, and has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. He was hospitalised for poor mental health multiple times during his late teens and early twenties, which eventually forced him to withdraw from university and begin again from scratch.
While in hospital, Tom noticed that patients were finding creative outlets to cope with their predicament. These outlets included drawing, painting, writing poetry, dancing, singing and cooking. Tom wrote songs and, despite those dark times, he realised creativity’s tremendous potential to improve mental health; it is crucial to have an outlet for feelings and emotions.
A few years later, Tom started hosting live gigs. He also ran workshops in schools, connecting with young people who were experiencing mental struggles. In 2018, Retune started to take shape: in addition to live shows and schools, Tom now visited prisons and hospitals, and produced online content.
Tom’s cousin Kathryn Bailey – a photographer, videographer and all-round creative
– joined the project in 2019. As well as sharing Tom’s view that creative outlets are powerful tools for mental wellbeing, Kathryn had a personal attachment to Retune's mission...
When Tom was first admitted to hospital, 11-year-old Kathryn was shielded from the truth, as she was considered ‘too young’ to know what was going on. Being involved with Retune allows her to be part of a cause that is close to her heart, especially as Retune’s workshops discuss mental wellbeing with all ages, from primary school pupils to adults.
Open conversations around wellbeing are more commonplace nowadays, but there is still a long road ahead. Through its app, workshops and live shows, Retune is creating a community based around mental wellbeing, underpinned by creativity.
When we retune something, such as a musical instrument or a radio, we make small adjustments in order to achieve harmony, clarity and balance. Retune believes that the same theory can be applied to mental health.
Harnessing creative outlets that engage the imagination, and following the principles of the SCALES model, can help all of us to make small adjustments. As a result, our mental wellbeing will be more in tune.