As part of the Stirling County Study (Canada), general physicians were interviewed to identify the psychiatric disorders experienced by a sample of adults selected in 1952. Based on information about vital status gathered 16 years later, we found that those with a psychiatric disorder at the beginning of the study experienced 1.6 times the expected number of deaths. The effect in regard to premature mortality and accidental deaths was particularly strong. Four of six categories of psychiatric diagnoses were significantly associated with mortality. In terms of standardized mortality ratios, depression had the highest and anxiety the lowest risk in this general population. The findings are discussed as providing historical background from the 1950s and 1960s for studying trends.