Objective: To delineate the place of suicide as a public health problem, describe the methodology by which studies of care of suicidal persons have been assessed in this compendium of evaluative papers, and consider whether improved clinical care can reduce suicide.
Method: Systematic review according to the principles of evidence-based medicine. The limitations of the evidence are highlighted.
Conclusions: There is evidence that optimal clinical care can make a difference and reduce suicide. There is no magic clinical bullet currently available that could replace excellent clinical care, which remains the centrepiece of treatment of suicidal persons.