A total of 1018 self-poisoned patients were treated during the year 1983 in the emergency room of Helsinki University Central Hospital. By the end of a 5-year follow-up period, 3.2% of these had committed suicide, making annual suicide mortality 589 per 100,000. During the first year after the index attempt, suicide mortality was 1768 per 100,000, a 50-fold risk compared with that of the total population in Helsinki. Risk factors were being male of advancing age, having mental disorders, previous suicide attempts, a nonimpulsive index suicide attempt, moderate to very serious lethality and severe intention to die during the index suicide attempt. When the lethality was assessed as being very serious or intention to die as certain, 21% later committed suicide. The relative risk for those left without psychiatric consultation was 0.6 when the lethality was mild and 1.6 when it was severe. Results indirectly indicate that psychiatric consultation seemed to have a positive effect on the outcome of these attempted suicides.