Coming Back From A 'Free Fall': Addressing Female Veteran Suicide

Apr 19, 2018

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.
Credit Jay Price / American Homefront

Female veterans are nearly 2 1/2 times more likely to commit suicide than civilian women, according to data from the Veterans Administration Suicide Prevention Program. The same data show male veterans are 18 percent more likely to kill themselves than civilian men. Why are female veterans struggling? The advocacy group Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) released six recommendations on the mental health needs of women service members and veterans based on a poll of veterans in the civilian world and women on active duty.

Host Frank Stasio talks to WUNC military reporter Jay Price about the unique challenges facing women service members and veterans. Price also talks about what advocacy groups and the VA are doing to address the needs of women in the military. His two reported features were produced as part of the American Homefront Project.