A random sample of residents staying in a short-stay hostel in Aberdeen indicated that 25% of those interviewed suffered from a psychiatric disorder, most commonly depression. In addition, 57% were dependent on alcohol. These findings were similar to previous studies which examined short-stay hostels in larger, more disadvantaged cities. Untrained hostel staff showed considerable skill in picking out residents who suffered from serious mental illness. Only two out of 24 residents suffering from schizophrenia or depression were receiving treatment from the local psychiatric service.