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To die by suicide, one must think about suicide, make a plan, and then carry it out. Prior research has examined the presence and predictors of these outcomes; however, virtually no studies have characterized how these steps unfold along the pathway to suicide. We administered a novel instrument to 30 recent suicide attempters. Results revealed that although the median onset for suicidal ideation occurs 1-5 years prior to attempting, the median for six out of the ten steps measured was within 6 hours of attempting. Overall, 86.5% of proximal planning steps took place within one week of attempting and 66.6% occur within 12 hours.