Most people suffering from problems with their health can be helped back to work with the right kind of support, according to new research.
Long term sickness and the number of workers on long term incapacity benefits could be cut by up to 60% if measures such as early intervention were adopted, said the report by York University's Social Policy Research Unit.
The study said that most people with mental health problems who talked about their condition at work found that colleagues were supportive.
Employers were keen to learn more about mental health issues and wanted to work closely with GPs.
Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell said: "Our radical proposals to reform the welfare system are designed to ensure people can stay at or return to work if they are able to. This evidence shows working can be an important step in people's recovery.
"We are looking at how we can work with employers to make sure people get the support they need in the workplace. We have proposed doubling the amount of money we make available to employers to adapt the workplace to accommodate employees with specific needs."