This article introduces a thematic issue of Transcultural Psychiatry on suicide in cultural context. Developmental and social structural factors including exposure to violence, childhood abuse and privation, as well as intractable social problems that create psychic pain and a sense of entrapment have been shown to increase the risk of suicidal behavior. However, all of the major social determinants identified in suicide research are influenced or mediated by particular cultural meanings and contexts. To move beyond crude generalizations about suicide based on psychological theories developed mainly in Western contexts and culture-specific prototypes or exemplars, we need more fine-grained analysis of the experience of diverse populations. The articles in this issue provide clear illustrations of the impact of cultural and contextual factors in the causes of suicide, with implications for psychiatric research, theory, and practice. Cross-cultural research points to the possibility of developing a typology of social predicaments affecting specific sociodemographic groups and populations. This typology could be elaborated and applied in clinical and public health practice through an ecosocial approach that considers the ways that suicide is embodied and enacted in social systemic contexts.