All new attenders at the Menopause Clinic in Edinburgh over six months were interviewed to detect current depressive disorder (MADRS) and past psychiatric disorders (SADS-L), to find out whether women who were depressed at the time of clinic attendance had a history of depression. Of the 95 subjects who entered the study, 78 had gone through a natural menopause and 17 had undergone hysterectomy with or without oophorectomy. Of the 78 who had experienced a natural menopause, 35 were found to be depressed at the time of clinic attendance and 43 were not. A strong association was found between current and past depressive illness, 29 of the patients depressed at the time of clinic attendance having had depression previously. However, a clear peak of illness was seen in the perimenopausal period (four years either side of the last menstrual period): 35% of all patients with past or current depressive illness experienced their first episode of illness in this period.