Urinary free Cortisol (UFC) excretion was determined in 60 depressed inpatients and in 35 psychiatric inpatients with other disorders. The depressed patients had high daily UFC values, while the other patients excreted normal amounts. Over 40% of the depressed patients had UFC excretions in the range seen in Cushing's disease, while only 6% of the other patients excreted such high amounts of Cortisol. Age and sex differences did not account for the results. Among the depressed patients those with depressive neuroses excreted less than unipolar or bipolar depressives. Following treatment, more normal UFC excretion was found in depressed patients. The estimation of UFC and its clinical utility are discussed in detail. UFC determination is a simple and informative indicator of adrenal cortical activation and its application to psychoendocrine studies is recommended.