‘Conflict is a mental health issue’

It’s mental health awareness week, an important time for organisations to reflect on how to support employees to stay mentally healthy at work. The comment in title of this post is from a former mediation party, and has prompted me to think more deeply about the link between conflict and mental health.

For over a decade, our work as mediators has allowed us to hear and witness first-hand the negative impact of unresolved conflict. Parties who attend our workplace mediations regularly tell us about the overwhelming stress, the countless sleepless nights and the destructive feelings they experience because of unresolved workplace conflict.

This quote below from someone who attended another workplace mediation we facilitated is reflective of what many of us go through when we are in conflict:

‘Constant nagging worry, struggled to concentrate, focus or make decisions, a feeling of prevailing gloom and anxiety, sore neck and shoulders.’  

The link between workplace conflict and mental health is an important determinant of employee well-being. This is why we completed a research study, surveying past mediation users to understand how they were affected by workplace conflict and what lessons we can learn from their experience to deal with workplace conflict in a more constructive and informal way.

In 2018/2019, we surveyed 57 mediation parties, of whom 75% said that conflict at work had affected their mental health, and an even higher proportion (84%) said that conflict had affected their overall health. Our survey results have led to the publication of a new practical guide to help employees make the best possible choices in the face of conflict.

Download Consensio’s Guide to Conflict and Well-being at Work to read about 5 practical steps to healthier workplace conflict, which will support you in having a more engaged and productive workforce.

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