The study aims to propose an integrative model that can simultaneously explain how work can be beneficial or detrimental to recovery from a mental health disorder. A total of 50 individuals recovering from anxiety or mood disorders took part in a semi-structured interview. Four mechanisms explaining the positive contribution of work to recovery emerged from the thematic analysis: (1) self-efficacy; (2) positive identity; (3) affiliation; and (4) financial stability and security. In addition, three levers that maximize the positive role of work in recovery were identified: (1) disclosure and accommodations; (2) person-job fit; and (3) work-life balance. On the other hand, three barriers that hinder or neutralize the contribution of work to recovery were identified: (1) stigmatization; (2) high psychological demands; and (3) lack of support and resources. This study provides a more nuanced understanding of the mechanisms explaining the role of work in recovery from an anxiety or mood disorder. Beyond the four mechanisms identified, certain levers and barriers provide an understanding of how and under what circumstances work can be beneficial or detrimental to the recovery process. On a practical level, the results highlight various concrete avenues that can help employers foster the recovery of their employees.