Between the Slides

Between the Slides

PEOPLE: From Suicidal to Saving Others with Ben Gomes

July 01, 2019

In 2017 Police Officers, Firefighters and/or EMS workers were more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.  This data from the Ruderman White Paper on Mental Health and Suicide of First Responders (April 2018) is alarming and heartbreaking. First responders, meaning Police, Fire, EMS and 911 Communicators, are exposed to horrible experiences on a daily basis. Sometimes many times in one day.  In this episode we talk to Ben Gomes. Ben was an experienced 911 Communicator and is now professional Firefighter.  Ben talks about how he faced his own demons and darkness related to suicide and how we now helps others as part of the Virginia First Responders Support Services (VFRSS).


  • Contact Ben Gomes directly on Instagram @dontcallmeradio via email at Gomes.benjamin.p@gmail.comor call or text Ben at 1.804.432.7901

  • Virginia First Responder Support Services (VFRSS)

    • Main site at

    • Request help at

    • Executive Director Gene Thompson at 1.540.755.0208

    • Email training

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255

  • Safe Call Now – 1.206.459.3020

  • Fire/EMS Helpline – 1.888.731.3473

Key time stamps:

  • 00:06:13 - Becoming a 911 Communicator

  • 00:15:04 - Tragedy hits close to home

  • 00:21:52 - Plotting his own suicide

  • 00:43:07 - Increased call volumes and First Responder mental health

  • 01:02:40 - Managing the fear of telling others

  • 01:15:55 - Asking for help in your locality

**If you are in public safety and need help please reach out to someone you know or one of the resources above.

Link to video of Hopewell Moose Lodge fire discussed in this episode:

Thank you all for listening and Godspeed,


Kevin Pannell, PMP | | Instagram & Twitter: pannellkg | Facebook: Betweentheslides | Email:

*Email with any questions about this or other topics covered or that you'd like to hear covered on the Between the Slides podcast.