The three-year ‘Action on stigma' drive targets employers, urging them to sign up to a set of anti-stigma principles demonstrating that they have made changes to their work environment and employment practices.
The aim is to ensure that people with mental health problems are treated fairly and equally.
‘We are sending out guidelines on best practice to all FTSE 100 firms, trade unions and royal colleges, and to smaller businesses via email, as well as mainstream media,' said a spokeswoman.
Many employers who have taken part in projects to make the workplace more ‘mental-health friendly' have reported reduced staff turnover and sickness-related absence, according to the Department of Health, whose head of comms is Matt Tee.
Only 20 per cent of people with severe mental health problems are employed, compared with 65 per cent of those with physical problems.
The most common work-related mental health problems are stress and depression.
‘One in four of us will suffer from a mental health problem at some point, and the cost to business and society is substantial. Ignorance and stigma still surround the issue of mental ill-health and when people develop a problem, they often don't get the support they need from society to help them recover,' said a spokeswoman.