An unselected community sample of 128 patients were studied over the 12 months after their first stroke, and compared with a control sample of subjects from the general population. Psychiatric status was assessed using the PSE and BDI. Symptoms of mood disorder were commoner in the stroke patients than the controls, but the differences were not substantial and had largely disappeared by 12 months. Psychiatric problems encountered included agoraphobia, social withdrawal, apathy and self-neglect, irritability and pathological emotionalism. While there was a high cumulative incidence of psychiatric disorder, little of it persisted: only two cases of major depression were present for the whole 12 months. We believe undue emphasis has been placed in the recent literature on major depression as a specific syndrome following stroke.