Examining women veterans’ self-reported mental health is critical to understanding their unique mental and physical health needs. This study describes self-reported mental distress over a 17-year period among cross-sectional nationally representative samples of women in the USA using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) core national surveys from 2003 to 2019. Nationally representative prevalence estimates of self-reported mental distress were compared between women veterans and their (1) men veteran and (2) women civilian counterparts. In each year examined, women veterans report significantly more days of recent mental distress and significantly higher prevalence of frequent mental distress than their men veteran counterparts. In several years, women veterans also report greater levels of recent and frequent mental distress than women civilians. These findings highlight the long-standing high prevalence of self-reported poor mental health among women veterans and suggest that specific efforts to address mental health among women veterans as a unique population may be warranted.