While the existence of mental illness has been documented for centuries, the understanding and treatment of such illnesses has evolved considerably over time. Ritual exorcisms and locking mentally ill patients in asylums have been fundamentally replaced by the use of psychotropic medications and evidence-based psychological practices. Yet the historic roots of mental health management and care has left a certain legacy. With regard to suicidal risk, the authors argue that suicidal patients are by definition seen as mentally ill and out of control, which demands hospitalization and the treatment of the mental disorder (often using a medication-only approach). Notably, however, the evidence for inpatient care and a medication-only approach for suicidal risk is either limited or totally lacking. Thus, a “one-size-fits-all” approach to treating suicidal risk needs to be re-considered in lieu of the evolving evidence base. To this end, the authors highlight a series of evidence-based considerations for suicide-focused clinical care, culminating in a stepped care public health model for optimal clinical care of suicidal risk that is cost-effective, least-restrictive, and evidence-based.