OBJECTIVE: Guide the health professional to identify risk factors and forms of protection, together with handling such patient throughout a clinical interview within the emergency service context. METHOD: Selected literature revision so as to identify relevant and illustrative key cases. RESULTS: The clinical interview is the best method to evaluate the suicidal risk and has two different aims: 1) emotional support and creation of a bond; 2) collecting information. There is a substantial amount of information to be collected during the clinical interview, such as: risk factors and protection, epidemiologic data, act characterization, psychical dynamics aspects, personal and familial historic patterns, identification models, data on physical wealth and social net support. Difficulties are to emerge throughout the clinical interview, but a trained and informed professional will be able to approach and adequately add the patient. Although several scales have been proposed, none of them have been efficient to deter the suicidal risk. CONCLUSION: There is no method to predict who is to commit suicide, nevertheless, it is possible to evaluate the individual risk of each patient with regards to a detailed and empathic clinical interview. Prevent the patient to commit suicide is the preliminary and fundamental rule.