Rates of depression and anxiety are increasing all over the world in developed and developing countries as well and Israel is no exception to this trend. People suffering from depression and anxiety disorders tend not to turn for professional help to mental health clinics but to primary care. This cross-sectional study examines the attitudes and barriers of primary care physicians in the southern region of Israel toward providing care for depression and anxiety in their practices. In 2002 we sent a questionnaire concerning attitudes and barriers toward depression and anxiety to 99 primary care physicians from 14 primary care clinics with a response rate of 67.7% (67 physicians); 80.6% of the participants agreed with the statement that depression and anxiety are frequent problems in primary care and they should be treated in primary care clinics, but 37.3% reported to have little interest in treating mental disorders, 47.7% thought depression and anxiety should be treated in mental health clinics; 43.3% of the participants declared that they experienced a personal difficulty in taking care of patients with depression and anxiety, and 85% identified time constraint as a major barrier to care of depression and anxiety in primary care. This study suggests that in order to improve treatment of depression and anxiety in primary care, there is a need for a change of attitudes of the primary care providers.