High suicide mortality is a significant public health problem in Finland. National suicide prevention project has been appointed by the National Board of Health. The main target is to reduce suicide mortality by 20% by 1995. In the 1st phase of the project all suicides committed between 1.4.1987 & 31.3.1988 will be explored. On the basis of this data, suicide prevention programmes will be carried out in the yrs 1989-1995. In this article the background of the project & study design is presented.