Several studies have observed the role of work-related conflicts as a source of mental illness.

Romanov et al. (1996), for example, found a correlation between mental illness and conflicts at work. And according to Hyde et al. (2006), unresolved conflicts or conflicts resolved through the use of authority are particularly risky.

When conflict in the workplace impacts on the welfare of employees, immediate action is beneficial.  Don’t let it fester!

I think most people will agree; workplace conflict can cause considerable stress, anxiety and depression and ultimately lead to more serious mental health issues.  However, conflict in the workplace is inevitable; there will be disagreements about workplace matters and there will be personality clashes, but it is how we manage them that makes the difference.

Where conflict is left unresolved it can intensify and spread, affecting more than the individuals originally involved, to affecting a group of people and sometimes the entire workplace.

Early intervention is the key to supporting employees who are not coping in the workplace. Therefore, doesn’t it stand to reason that if employees, teams or managers are stressed, anxious or depressed because of conflict in the workplace the best remedy is to unravel the conflict?

Career Development Centre/ Mentally Well Workplaces have been facilitating mediation sessions to resolve differences/ disputes in the workplace before they become toxic.  We identified the number of people suffering stress and anxiety as a result of conflict in the workplace was far more common that we thought possible.  

 How does mediation help manage stress, anxiety and resolve conflict in the workplace?

  • The mediator is a neutral impartial third party that can work with both the employees and the manager.
  • It is voluntary process
  • Everyone is heard and respected for their opinion
  • The mediator acts as facilitator providing a safe environment for all parties to talk to each without fear of blame or judgement.
  • The mediator does not take sides or dictate what should be done.
  • The mediator is not emotionally involved and is able to be objective
  • The process is solution focused
  • Criticism is outlawed

One of the most crucial components of mediating conflict at work is creating an atmosphere of trust that includes safety, confidentiality, neutrality, and respect.

Organisations who use mediation as a tool for resolving conflict in the workplace can expect to see:

  • Work performance and productivity is increase
  • Rates of illness and absenteeism decrease
  • Relationships with clients and customers greatly improve
  • Staff turnover decreases
  • Less confrontation leading to toxic free workplaces
  • Lowered levels of stress and anxiety
  • Greater enthusiasm for their work
  • A more supportive and mentally well workplace
  • The organisation becomes known for treating staff well

Mediation involving mental health challenges in the workplace is more common than you might think.

Don’t wait for a crisis!


Sally Healey


Career development Centre Pty Ltd