Purpose of review: Although most would agree that to prevent is better than to cure, prevention of depression has only recently been studied rigorously. The purpose of the present study is to review the state of the current literature. Recent findings: The technical and theoretical literature underpinning depression prevention is developing in concert with high-quality intervention studies testing the effects of novel preventive interventions. Data suggest that universal prevention, targeting the whole population, is not likely to be effective, whereas both selective (high-risk groups) and indicated (people with some signs or symptoms, but no disorder) prevention may be very effective. Overall, preventive interventions may reduce the onset of depression by as much as 25-50%, which compares favourably with treatment. Summary: Preventing depression may be effective at all ages and in diverse settings. Prevention has moved beyond the stage of pioneering studies and it deserves a regular place within our armamentarium to combat depression. © 2010 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.