Employers are far less likely to employ people with mental illnesses compared with physical conditions, a report suggests.
Heidi is back at work after her depression
In a bid to address the stigma attached to such conditions, the government is launching voluntary standards for employers.
Heidi Howarth, 35, suffered depression after a serious car crash in 1999.
A customer-service manager for BT, Heidi was off work for three years and also suffered from agoraphobia.
"Following my accident, I felt very isolated and was physically restricted.
"I had been a very active person and I found this hard, which led to my breakdown."
Heidi, who is married with two children, found it difficult to leave the house and was worried what people would think of her problem.
"It's very difficult. It's not seen like a physical problem, even though it's as debilitating.
"I became very nervous and developed obsessive-compulsive behaviour, so when I did leave the house I would do things like only walk on one side of the street."
Heidi, from just outside Exeter in Devon, tried to return to work after 18 months, but found it impossible.
BT then referred her for free counselling sessions.
"It made a world of difference. It was the starting point for my recovery."
Following the sessions her company funded, Heidi began a course of NHS therapy.
Three years after her accident, she was able to return to work and has been promoted to a more demanding job.
"I'm really grateful for what the company did, particularly for keeping my job open. I don't think everyone is as lucky."