BACKGROUND To date, the study of suicidal behavior among minors has focused on the age group in which it is more prevalent: adolescents. We hypothesized that suicidal behavior in children stems from a different diagnosis than suicidal behavior in adolescents, and thus merits its own investigation. METHOD We studied all minors (266) who were referred to a psychiatric emergency department due to a suicide attempt or suicidal ideation during a 3-year period. RESULT There was an age-related difference in diagnostic distribution among minors who were referred to the emergency department because of suicidal behavior (χ(2) (7) = 24.297, P < 0.01). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was more prevalent among children (under 12 years old), whereas mood disorders were more prevalent among adolescents (12-18 years old). CONCLUSION The findings of this study highlight a diagnostic difference between suicidal children and suicidal adolescents.