Rates of depressive disorder in adolescents attending primary care are increasing. Most presentations are for physical complaints and concurrent depressive symptoms go unrecognised and untreated. Primary care practitioners describe reluctance to intervene due to lack of confidence and skills. This paper describes the development and implementation of TIDY (Therapeutic Identification of Depression in Young people), a programme designed by child psychiatrists and general practitioners to improve detection and intervention for depression within ordinary consultations. The paper describes the integration of educational principles and current evidence into the development of the training programme and the intervention package. The content of the intervention is described. For cases of mild to moderate depressive disorder, where patients do not require referral for specialist treatment, practitioners are trained to deliver self-help and coping strategies within a single consultation.