A high prevalence of mental illness has been reported in asylum seekers. The present cross-sectional study examined suicidal thoughts, treatment modalities (outpatient crisis intervention, inpatient care), and their determinants in asylum seekers (n = 119) and permanent residents (n = 120) attending the same outpatient clinic in Geneva, Switzerland. The most frequent diagnoses were depressive disorders (64.7%) and posttraumatic stress disorder (34.5%) in asylum seekers and psychotic (55.0%) and depressive disorders (33.3%) in permanent residents. The frequency of suicidal thoughts was similar in both groups (>30%). Asylum seekers benefited from outpatient crisis intervention more frequently than residents did (26.9% vs. 5.8%), whereas inpatient care was less frequent (25.2% vs. 44.2%). In asylum seekers, acute suicidal thoughts were associated with increased frequency of outpatient crisis interventions, and, suicidal thoughts, psychosis, or personality disorders were associated with higher rates of hospitalization. Documenting clinical characteristics and service utilization of asylum seekers is a prerequisite to organizing targeted interventions.