A consensus conference on the reasons for the undertreatment of depression was organized by the National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association (NDMDA) on January 17–18,1996. The target audience included health policymakers, clinicians, patients and their families, and the public at large. Six key questions were addressed: (1) Is depression undertreated in the community and in the clinic? (2) What is the economic cost to society of depression? (3) What have been the efforts in the past to redress undertreatment and how successful have they been? (4) What are the reasons for the gap between our knowledge of the diagnosis and treatment of depression and actual treatment received in this country? (5) What can we do to narrow this gap? (6) What can we do immediately to narrow this gap?