Ninety-eight subjects who had attempted suicide and 102 general practice controls previously interviewed were followed-up at 18–24 months. The former continued to show greater social and psychiatric disability than controls and more than one-third made repeat suicide attempts. Nevertheless, as a group, the attempted suicides showed significant improvement in mental state, and familial and interpersonal relationships, whereas controls reported little change in most measures. Persistence of suicidal ideation and repeat attempts were correlated with the diagnosis of psychosis and personality disorder and predictions about the likelihood of further suicidal activity were accurate. Although 92% of patients were referred for further treatment, 38% of these were judged to have dropped out prematurely. Completion of treatment and being in ongoing treatment were positively correlated with patients' self reports of improvement. The findings are compared to experience elsewhere and to a previous Christchurch follow-up study.