Military suicide

Kristen Christy poses with her husband Don in a 2005 photo. Don, an Air Force lieutenant colonel, died by suicide in 2008.
Kristen Christy

New federal laws seek to improve mental health care for veterans and their families. But advocates say it will take time for local communities to feel the effects.

Members of the 52nd Fighter Wing gather at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany for a one day stand down to discuss mental health issues.
Kyle Cope / U.S. Air Force

In response to a string of suicides in the Air Force, every base is holding a one day stand down, where airmen can learn and talk about mental health issues.

Deana Martorella Orellana's mother, Laurel Martorella (left), and Orellana's sister, Robin Jewell, hold her Marine Corps photo. Orellana killed herself a year after leaving the Marines. She had agreed to undergo counseling the day she died.
Jay Price / American Homefront

Female veterans are nearly 2 1/2 times more likely than their civilian counterparts to kill themselves. Advocates say women's mental health challenges are different from those of men.

Veterans and family members at Tampa's American Legion Post 5 participate in a special Memorial Day ceremony for troops who died by suicide.
Bobbie O'Brien / American Homefront

Memorial Day can be especially difficult for relatives of service members who died by suicide. They often feel stigmatized, even around other military families.