Depression will soon be the leading cause of disability in developing countries but effective treatments are not widely available. There is compelling evidence for the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the multicondition collaborative care (MCC) model for depression in developing and developed countries. In the MCC model integrated care for depression is provided along with care for different non-communicable disorders. MCC has been shown to reduce hyperglycaemia and hyperlipidaemia and can lead to depression-free days when integrated care for depression and diabetes is provided. However, due to limited resources, it is not possible to make this effective model of care available at the population level. It is suggested that a public health intervention based on the MCC model can lead to better care for depression in developing countries. A public health programme of MCC which provides treatment for depression, diabetes and hypertension in a collaborative care programme will be a cost-effective way of providing treatment for depression in developing countries. This will cater for the leading cause of disability (unipolar depression) and the leading projected causes of mortality (ischaemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease) in low-income and middle-income countries.