We’re always trying to find ways to be supportive of our colleagues at Tchibo Coffee Service. Promoting good mental health and supporting those who are experiencing difficulties is something we feel passionate about.

This week (13th-19th May 2019) is Mental Health Awareness Week, so we are stepping up our game and have loads of great activities going on; we have a guest speaker from Mind coming in to present, some colleagues and directors have shared blogs on their journeys with mental health, and there’s more to come!

To mark this week, we also wanted to share insights on how you can look after employees’ mental health in the office. Lara Ibbs is our Employee Engagement Business Partner and here are her tips!

Lara Ibbs Employee Engagement Business Partner

1. Train Mental Health First Aiders

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA England) is an organisation that aims to normalise society’s attitudes to mental health, and promotes training to empower people to care for themselves and others. Lara says “Having designated Mental Health First Aiders in your organisation is just as important as physical first aid. MHFA’s provide a first port of call for anyone in the organisation to approach and receive advice in a confidential, non-judgemental environment.”

Any tips for businesses who want to get MFHA’s in their organisation, Lara? “Get in touch with MHFA England to discuss training. Once you have your MHFA’s in place, it’s vital that you promote them within the business. Communicate well and make sure your colleagues know who to contact in times of emergency.”

Here at Tchibo Coffee Service, we promoted our MHFA’s by identifying them with photos in our monthly newsletter and we also have signs around the building so colleagues know who to contact.

Mental Health First Aiders

2. Lead from the top

Lara says that having Senior Leadership buy-in is critical. “At TCS we recognised that we needed to build on our culture of openness and break down any stigma surrounding mental health. We felt that having a voice to echo this from the top meant that it would filter down throughout the UK organisation.”

Our senior leaders authorised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions with a professional therapist for colleagues who felt they would benefit. Our Senior Leadership are also open to discussions about mental health.

Paul Chadderton, UK and Ireland Group Managing Director recently wrote a blog on mental health which was shared with all TCS UK employees.

3. Don’t ignore the warning signs

“If you notice a change in your colleagues, don’t be afraid to sensitively ask them how they are doing” says Lara. “They may not wish to disclose their worries, anxieties or difficulties immediately, but making yourself approachable and available should they choose to open up can be a great help.”

sad face

Some warning signs to look out for are:


– Absence from work

– Loss of appetite

– Isolating themselves

– Irritable

– Development of new habits (like smoking, or drinking more than usual)


“If you notice any of the above, offer to go for an informal chat over coffee. It might be the first step that person needs to get help along their journey” advises Lara.

4. Switch off when you’re out of the office

At TCS we encourage a culture where our colleagues leave the office on time and leave work at work. Lara says “We never expect anyone to be working late into the night or at the weekends. A healthy work/life balance is key for our wellbeing”.

And Lara’s ultimate tip? “Make sure you give yourself a regular ‘Digital Detox’. Switch off your phone for an hour a day and be present with your friends and family.”

mobile phone

If you need someone to talk to, please find some useful contacts below:



Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.

Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)

Website: www.samaritans.org.uk



Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers.

SANEline: 0300 304 7000 (daily, 4.30pm to 10.30pm)

Textcare: comfort and care via text message, sent when the person needs it most: http://www.sane.org.uk/textcare

Peer support forum: www.sane.org.uk/supportforum

Website: www.sane.org.uk/support



CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.

Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)

Website: www.thecalmzone.net


For more contacts, visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/

Do you have any other ideas on how we can support each other at work? Let us know in the comments!



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