The World Health Organization/EURO Multicentre Project on Parasuicide is part of the action to implement target 12 of the WHO programme, "Health for All by the Year 2000', for the European region. Sixteen centres in 13 European countries are participating in the monitoring aspect of the project, in which trends in the epidemiology of suicide attempts are assessed. The highest average male age-standardized rate of suicide attempts was found for Helsinki, Finland (314/100,000), and the lowest rate (45/100,000) was for Guipuzcoa, Spain, representing a sevenfold difference. The highest average female age-standardized rate was found for Cergy-Pontoise, France (462/100,000), and the lowest (69/100,000) again for Guipuzcoa, Spain. With only one exception (Helsinki), the person-based suicide attempt rates were higher among women than among men. In the majority of centres, the highest person-based rates were found in the younger age groups. The rates among people aged 55 years or over were generally the lowest. For the majority of the centres, the rates for individuals aged 15 years or over decreased between 1989 and 1992. The methods used were primarily "soft' (poisoning) or cutting. More than 50% of the suicide attempters made more than one attempt, and nearly 20% of the second attempts were made within 12 months after the first attempt. Compared with the general population, suicide attempters more often belong to the social categories associated with social destabilization and poverty.