The relationship between mental health and socioeconomic status is well established in the literature. The socioeconomic standing of a number of South Africans remains poor and slow changing, while the mental health of the most vulnerable remains both an economic and health problem for government. There is, however, a lack of studies that assess depressive symptoms using panel data. There is also a lack of studies that consider factors that influence transitions of adults into and out of Significant Depressive Symptoms, particularly in the South African context. Panel data from the National Income Dynamics Study were used for this study to assess these transitions. The data included information on various socioeconomic and health variables, as well as a section that assesses the emotional health of adults in South Africa. This emotional health section in National Income Dynamics Study was essentially a 10-item version of the Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale. The study aimed to investigate how socioeconomic status is associated with the risk of adults transitioning into and out of Significant Depressive Symptoms in the South African context. The study found that the prevalence of adults who exhibited Significant Depressive Symptoms declined significantly in South Africa, despite the recent increase. Moreover, adults with a lower socioeconomic standing were identified as being particularly vulnerable to depression and struggled to transition out of Significant Depressive Symptoms.