This paper investigates, first, the differences in attempted-suicide rates among men and women between urban districts and, second, the association between regional characteristics and attempted-suicide rates. The data cover all attempted suicides referred to healthcare in 1989 and 1997 in Helsinki, Finland. There are clear and persistent differences in the attempted-suicide rates between the studied districts. Although female rates increased in all seven districts from 1989 to 1997, their mutual relationships remain similar. There are more changes among men both within and between the districts. Socio-economic disadvantage within the districts was associated with higher attempted-suicide rates. We conclude that socio-economic characteristics and their changes over time in the districts are likely to affect the suicidal behaviour of men more than women. Improving the employment status and structural position, especially of men, would probably prove to be important for the prevention of attempted suicide.