Suicide research, in particular epidemiology, comprises a huge amount of data. However, the theoretical understanding clearly lags behind the empirical knowledge. Suicide, suicide attempts and other suicidal behaviors are more heterogeneous than most explanatory approaches would assume. The most important recent contributions to a better understanding have come from selected epidemiological findings and, interestingly, prevention. This article provides an overview of epidemiological findings, the most relevant risk factors and conclusions related to successful preventive efforts.