Not many of us feel we have anything to CHIME about in the current circumstances. However, standing back and seeking out the small positive things in life, can help to distract and change our thinking. CHIME is an acronym for connectedness, hope, identity, meaning and empowerment.

Development officer Finola Colgan with Mental Health Ireland.

It is a concept to support a person’s recovery in mental health. This recovery is a journey. As with any journey, even a short distance, necessitates a certain amount of planning, preparation, awareness and even possible roadblocks.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health “is a state of wellbeing in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.

Right now, the emphasis is on our physical health, but it is also crucial that we watch out for our mental health. COVID-19 is a physical illness that has swept us off our feet generating a windstorm of worry, anxiety and stress within us all.

We all know the coronavirus will pass, what we are not at all certain about is when. And when it does, it will leave its imprint on our mental health. So, while it may seem premature to talk about recovery, it is not. Recovery is relevant to anyone experiencing anxiety, stress, frustration, feelings of anger and disappointment.

CHIME: applying it to our daily living

What we are all learning right now is that we have all have inner strengths, insights and abilities that are coming to the fore individually, families and the community. There is a massive willingness for people to help and share resources and be there for each other.


This describes the sense of being positively connected to other people and fosters a sense of wellbeing. We are now experiencing this through peer support, volunteering, linking into WhatsApp Groups, Skype and Zoom calls. However, we need to be mindful that there is a digital divide. We may need to connect in other ways to those that have no access to these forms of communication. Could you drop in a “hello” note to a neighbour to keep them in contact?


To have hope is to want an outcome in life that will make things better, especially in tough times. Having hope and belief can support us in making these days more bearable and tolerable. It keeps us motivated to mind ourselves in our journey of wellness. As Desmond Tutu once said: “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.” Generating a personal belief in hope can help us change our thinking and belief that things will change for the better. In the interim, we have to be patient and adhere to all the health messages around self-care being issued by the Government and the HSE.


This relates to a positive sense of self and self-worth. We are seeing this in abundance as we witness the complete and selfless dedication of our health care staff, our gardaí, our postmen and the great numbers of volunteers. It makes us all feel proud to be Irish.


This is a challenging concept right now, as we are all challenged to think about the meaning of life and why this is happening. I think it is reasonable to say that the COVID-19 has taken us all out of our comfort zones not just here in Ireland, but all over the world. The meaning of life has been globally challenged.


While it may feel that we have been disempowered, we have actually been catapulted into self-empowerment. We can take all the necessary steps to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

Take action with CHIME

How often have we said to our children and friends “put your mind to it”? In other words; apply yourself.

Get a blank sheet of paper and create two columns. In one write down each of the CHIME words and in the other column write down, with your family, your ideas as to how you can make CHIME work for you.

A final thought from Paradise Lost by John Milton: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven”. Let’s do the former. Focus on what you can control and distract yourself from feeling overwhelmed.

Mental Health Ireland in conjunction with the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and Teagasc have developed a new webpage specifically focussing on farmers which you can access here.