Suicide is a major source of preventable morbidity and mortality in Kitsap County, Washington State. This article describes a study of suicidal behavior to identify risk groups in order to design intervention strategies. A retrospective study was conducted by reviewing the charts of individuals exhibiting suicidal behavior who had presented to the county's only civilian hospital emergency department over a 7 month period. Frequencies were calculated to identify at-risk populations and determine risk factors. One hundred forty-five charts were reviewed. Subjects were mostly female (69%), and ages ranged from 10 to 80 years with 73% between 15 and 44 years. Two-thirds of the subjects were not working. More than half had previously exhibited suicidal behavior and more than 75% had previous mental health encounter(s). Most admissions (67.6%) occurred between 4:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. The core public health functions of assessment, policy development, and assurance provided the framework for this community to explore the finding that suicide was a major source of preventable morbidity and mortality. Community-based intervention strategies have been developed in an effort to reach the Healthy People 2000 objective of reducing suicide deaths to no more than 10.5 per 100,000 residents.