The government is to invest £5m in trebling the number of employment advisers in GP surgeries to help people with stress and other mental health conditions stay in work.
A new £8m advice and support service for smaller businesses is also to be piloted as part of the strategy, health secretary Alan Johnson announced.
The measures underpin the development of the first national strategy for mental health and work, led by the national director Dame Carol Black.
There are approximately one million people claiming incapacity benefits because of a mental health problem. About one-quarter of new claimants cite a mental health problem as their primary reason for claiming benefit.
The Department for Work and Pensions confirmed the number of advisers would increase from six to 18 in more than 40 surgeries across a number of pilot areas.
Johnson said: “Each year, many people are unnecessarily forced to give up their jobs because of mental health problems, which is a terrible waste of talent for British business and a great loss to the individual.
“This package is designed to help people keep well and in work, which will ultimately save businesses huge amounts in sick leave and contribute to a better quality of life for those who may have otherwise had to give up work.”