Part 2: Mental Illness and Police Officers with Blue Wives Matter

Hope Out of the Darkness

23-11-2021 • 44 mins

Retired Police Captain Robert Sweaza and his wife, Kristen, are my guests in Part Two of Mental Illness with Police Officers, where we discuss mental illness and how it relates to law enforcement officers. Kristen and Robert are the founders of Blue Wives Matter, a nonprofit dedicated to providing support for the families of fallen law enforcement officers. In this conversation, we talk about the particular challenges of mental health and suicide prevention education in law enforcement, the mental health stigma as it relates to first responders, and what goes into supporting the families of fallen officers.

If you are in crisis or know someone who is...please call:
Suicide Lifeline at 1-800- 273-8255
or text the word “help” to 741-741

About Blue Wives Matter:

Blue Wives Matter was founded in 2017 after the untimely death of Fountain Valley California Police Officer Rick Nilos. Officer Rick Nilos dedicated his life to helping others, as a police officer and a US Marine. It was in his death that Blue Wives Matter became inspired to help the families who are left behind. It is our mission to provide the support that families need in their time of loss and grief. We support families no matter the cause of death.

Blue Wives Matter has provided support to over 100 widows and widowers. Support has been provided financially and emotionally. This year we plan to offer mental health grants for those in need while dealing with grief.

Blue Wives Matter also honors the children of officers who have died through the Patches of Honor Program. Each month, these children receive police patches in the mail. Patches are donated from agencies and officers all over the world. As the children build their patch collection, they feel connected to the law enforcement community.


•Why are retired first responders at a high risk of suicide?
•The surprising level of support for the families of fallen officers
•Law enforcement agencies can handle the aftermath of suicide better
•What is stopping first responders from seeking help with mental wellness?
•How Blue Wives Matter provides support to families
•Recognize when you need help and ask for it
•Robert's advice for proper self-care: separate yourself from your work


Connect with Shell Pavlis:

AFSP Board Member, Project 2025 Champion for Orange County, CA
Realtor® Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties
All Shell’s Social:

Connect with our guests, Robert and Kristen Sweaza:

Blue Wives Matter website:
Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.)
Survivors of Blue Suicide (SBS):
Blue H.E.L.P. :
Council on Aging OC

Children’s Hospital of Orange County
Hoag Hospital
University of California, Irvine
Let’s Stop Suicide. Mental Health for All. Suicide Prevention. Suicide Support.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Orange County, CA:
Become a Volunteer
National Alliance on Mental Health
DiDi Hirsch Mental Health Services (LA & OC)
Connect with Hope Out of the Darkness:
Record a Question about mental health or suicide to be answered on an episode of Hope Out of
the Darkness:
Want to be a guest, or have an idea for a discussion you want to hear? Email

You Might Like