Of increasing importance in the civilian and military population is the recognition of Major Depressive Disorder at its earliest stages and intervention before the onset of severe symptoms. Toward the goal of more effective monitoring of depression severity, we investigate automatic classifiers of depression state, that have the important property of mitigating nuisances due to data variability, such as speaker and channel effects, unrelated to levels of depression. To assess our measures, we use a 35-speaker free-response speech database of subjects treated for depression over a six-week duration, along with standard clinical HAMD depression ratings. Preliminary experiments indicate that by mitigating nuisances, thus focusing on depression severity as a class, we can significantly improve classification accuracy over baseline Gaussian-mixture-model-based classifiers.