BACKGROUND: The aim of the research was to assess the consensus of clinicians about the appropriate treatments for depression and anxiety in youth, to discover any major differences between clinicians' beliefs and those of young people and their parents, and to assess whether clinicians' beliefs were consistent with clinical practice guidelines for young people. METHODS: Postal surveys were carried out on the beliefs of Australian general practitioners, psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health nurses about what are helpful interventions for depression and social phobia in a 15-year old and in a 21-year old. The clinician data were compared to findings from an earlier national survey of Australian youth aged 12-25 years and their parents. RESULTS: The clinicians showed consensus about the helpfulness of a number of professions, reducing substance use, cognitive-behavior therapy, counseling, physical activity, relaxation training, and (for social phobia) meditation. Antidepressants were generally recommended only for depression in a 21-year old. Young people and their parents showed much lower endorsement than clinicians of antidepressants and cognitive-behavior therapy, while clinicians had much lower endorsement than the public of informal supports such as family, friends and support groups. LIMITATIONS: The survey was adapted from one designed for the public and did not allow clinicians to express complex opinions. CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians show substantial consensus about appropriate treatments. However, there are some major differences in beliefs between clinicians and young people, which may be a barrier to optimal help-seeking.