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The articles we select for Evidence-Based Mental Health must pass two stages: first they must pass our basic validity criteria and then the editors assess each article for clinical relevance. A number of articles meet the inclusion criteria but are not abstracted due to lack of space. We will highlight the most interesting of these here and list the rest.

“We are in the midst of an epidemic of depression, one with consequences that, through suicide, takes as many lives as the AIDS epidemic and is more widespread.” A professor of psychology, Martin Seligman, said this over 10 years ago and few would doubt him today. Take a look at the features page of any newspaper and you are likely to find a columnist bemoaning the travails of modern living and the consequent rise in depressive disorders. Antidepressant prescriptions soar and the World Health Organization predicts that by 2020 depression will be the second cause of the global disease burden, after ischaemic heart disease. Is the evidence really that clear? The authors of this Australian repeated cross-sectional survey (Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2008;42:606–16) with over 3000 participants challenge the conventional wisdom, finding no change in the prevalence of major depression over a 6 year period and a reduction in what is termed “other” (ie, less severe, depression). Prevention is better than cure: this hoary old cliché has a well established tradition in most areas of medicine, particularly public health. However, with the exception of suicide, primary prevention has yet to make a significant impact in mental health. As a population at high risk with a readily identifiable …

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  • Competing interests: None declared.

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