The temporal relation between completed suicide and first-ever suicide attempt was investigated in 58 future suicides with a primary severe depression/melancholia. The median survival after a first attempted suicide was 6.7 years. Male patients with initial ratings of psychomotor retardation lived significantly longer after their initial attempt than those who were not retarded. They also had more depressive episodes compared to other male suicides and retarded controls. Thus a slow suicidal process in the men with a severe depression and psychomotor retardation is proposed. Severity, repetition, and method of suicide attempt did not decrease the survival time.