General practitioners' requirements for community psychiatric services may differ according to the area in which they practise. A questionnaire survey of general practitioners' attitudes to community psychiatric services is reported from three contrasting areas: an inner city urban area, a new town and a rural area. General practitioners in all areas wanted more consultation with psychiatrists, and 53-68% wanted regular psychiatric outpatient clinics in their surgeries. There was enthusiasm for community psychiatric nurses and for help with psychotherapy. In the rural area general practitioners favoured surgery based psychiatric outpatient clinics and arranging emergency hospital admissions themselves; in urban areas domiciliary visits from psychiatrists to help with emergencies were favoured. These results appear to reflect the greater geographical distance between primary and hospital based secondary care in rural as opposed to urban areas. Overall, general practitioners wanted more support from community psychiatric services in carrying out their primary therapeutic role especially in rural areas far from hospital-based psychiatric services.