We prospectively studied parental mental health after suddenly losing a son in a military training accident. Parents (N = 32) were interviewed at 1, 2 and 23 years after the death of their son. The General Health Questionnaire and Expanded Texas Inventory of Grief were self-reported at 1, 2, 5, and 23 years; the Inventory of Complicated Grief was self-reported at 23 years. We observed a high prevalence of psychiatric disorders at 1- and 2-year follow-ups (57% and 45%, respectively), particularly major depression (43% and 31%, respectively). Only one mental disorder was diagnosed at the 23-year follow-up. Grief and psychological distress were highest at 1- and 2-year follow-ups. Spouses exhibited a high concordance of psychological distress. Mothers reported more intense grief reactions than did fathers. The loss of a son during military service may have a substantial impact on parental mental health particularly during the first 2 years after death. Spouses' grief can be interrelated and may contribute to their psychological distress.