We examined the change in Swiss suicide rates since 1969, breaking down the rates according to the method used. The descriptive analyses of the main suicide methods are presented. The suicide rates reached a peak in the late 1970s/early 1980s and declined in more recent years. Firearm suicides and suicides by falls were the exception and sustained their upwards trend until the 1990s. Suicide by vehicle exhaust asphyxiation showed a rapid decline following the introduction of catalytic converters in motor vehicles. No substantial method substitution was observed. Suicide by poisoning declined in the 1990s but rose again following an increase in assisted suicide in somatically incurable patients. Suicide is too often regarded as a homogeneous phenomenon. With regard to the method they choose, suicide victims are a heterogeneous population and it is evident that different suicide methods are chosen by different people. A better understanding of the varying patterns of change over time in the different suicide methods used may lead to differentiated preventive strategies.