In 2009, a conference at Imperial College London brought together experts on the primary care provision of child and adolescent mental health. The following paper highlights various themes from the conference, and particularly focuses on general practice. Despite international and national guidance, child and adolescent mental health provision in primary care is limited in the UK and globally. We argue that primary care services are in fact well placed to assess, diagnose, and manage child and adolescent mental health problems. The barriers to such provision are considered from the perspective of both service users and providers, and the possible ways to overcome such challenges are discussed. The paper is informed by various epidemiological and intervention studies and comparisons between different countries and health systems are explored.