Abstract Data from a geographically-based random sample of 752 children were used to explore suicide attempts, concordance between mother and child reports of suicidal ideas and attempts, and the psychiatric correlates of youth-reported suicide attempts. Suicidal ideation in children was found to be much lower when reported by mothers than when based on the children's own reports. Mothers were also generally unaware of the suicide attempts reported by their children. Suicide attempters had 18 times the risk of major depression as did nonattempters and frequently experienced serious consequences of their depression. Mothers also reported more emotional and behavioral problems in these children and were more likely to have sought psychological help for them. It is concluded that information regarding risk factors for survey-reported suicide attempts is of importance in understanding the origins of clinically identified suicide attempts.