Ambivalence to treatment and repeated suicidal behaviour are well-known problems in suicide attempters. A randomised controlled study was performed to investigate the influence of repeated telephone contacts on treatment attendance, repetition of suicidal behaviour and mental health the year after a suicide attempt. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: One month after their suicide attempt 216 patients were randomised to either two telephone interventions in addition to treatment as usual, or no such intervention during the subsequent year. The interventions included motivational support to attend and/or to stay in treatment. At 1 month and again after 12 months the following measurements were used: GSI (SCL-90), GAF and SSI. RESULTS: At follow-up treatment attendance was high and did not differ between the randomised groups. Among those with an initial treatment contact other than psychiatric, more patients in the intervention group had such contact at follow-up. The randomised groups did not differ in repetition of suicide attempts during follow-up or in improvement in GSI (SCL-90), GAF and SSI. In individuals with no initial treatment the intervention group improved more in certain psychological symptom dimensions (SCL-90). CONCLUSION: Telephone interventions seem to have an effect on patients who at their suicide attempt had other treatment than psychiatric and in those with no treatment.