The government has announced its first ever National Strategy for Mental Health and Employment, to be published in the autumn.
A network of dedicated mental health experts across Jobcentre Plus will also be introduced, to improve support for people with mental health conditions.
Jim Knight, minister for employment and welfare reform, also revealed that recent pilot schemes to help people with mental health problems manage their condition so they can stay at work were successful. The government-led pilots were run with mental health charity Mind.
Knight said: “I know disabled people dearly want to stay in work and their employers want to do everything they can to keep good staff.
“Our plans to offer the right help early on can end the downward spiral of people falling out of work into sick leave, and onto benefits.”
The measures come as the government said it would increase the Access to Work fund, which currently enables advice and financial support to be given to disabled people and their employers, from £69m to £138m over the next five years.
Sickness absence due to mental ill health costs employers £8.4bn annually.