1 (855) 894-5658

May 2022

May Newsletter
Dear EricsHouse Community,

Welcome to May 2022! The blessing above is a beautiful affirmation to bring to the world. May this month bring you positive shifts, breakthroughs, and connections. Wishing you all the best!

Connect With Us:
Article From Our Board Member
Greg Eckerman
Deaths of Despair

Dr. Denise Campagnolo is a Neurologist and EricsHouse Board member, and my collaborator on the EricsHouse research project to validate and explore the usefulness of our Grief Self-Assessment tool.

Denise recently shared an article with me, published in the JAMA Psychiatry Journal this past February, titled “Why Deaths of Despair Are Increasing in the US and Not Other Industrial Nations—Insights From Neuroscience and Anthropology”.

First, I have to say the label ‘Deaths of Despair’ really resonates with me. I have struggled to come up with a term that covers the range of losses we primarily focus on at EricsHouse (Suicide and Substance Abuse). ‘Deaths of Self-Harm’ is accurate but feels somewhat judgmental – there’s already far too much stigma attached to these losses. ‘Deaths of Despair’ honors the struggles our loved ones faced during their lives.

The article reviews a report by the US National Academy of Sciences documenting rising mortality for US adults, most steeply for White adults with a secondary education or less. The rise is largely attributable to deaths of despair (suicide and poisoning by alcohol and drugs) with strong contributions from the cardiovascular effects of rising obesity... The US National Academy of Sciences report notes that mortality is decreasing in a control group of 16 wealthy nations (including countries in Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan) ...’ The rates of deaths of despair in the US are climbing dramatically, while those in the other 16 nations in the study are declining or flat (see figure 1).
Figure 1. Deaths of Despair Data

While the article rightly resists the urge to speculate on the causes of this crisis in the US beyond recommending studying the best practices of the other 16 nations, this data clearly begs the question: WHY? I feel compelled to speculate.

Perhaps it is related to the stigma attached to these deaths and to the despair faced by the victims in life. That stigma manifests in criminalization of addictions rather than effective recovery support, especially for those without the financial wherewithal to pay for it. It manifests in the persistent label of a loss to suicide as ‘committing’ suicide – just as one commits a crime . . . or commits a sin. Perhaps it is due in part to the limited availability of mental health support to those of limited means as well as the possible stigma for those seeking that support.

While I am reluctant to compare tragedies, since all of them play out at an individual level and it feels somewhat callous to evaluate them statistically, it is interesting to note the difference in levels of outrage over deaths by mass shootings and these deaths of despair. Based on the most recently available data in the US, deaths of despair outnumber deaths due to mass shootings by a factor of 3000. Compare the public outrage over mass shootings to that for the far greater number of deaths of despair.

We do need to study this to understand the root causes and address them. We need to learn from other nations with more effective mental health programs. We need to support and care for the victims while they are with us.
Healing After Suicide Loss:
Free 5-Day Interview Series Featuring Our Founder, Marianne Gouveia
If you want to finally let go of your guilt after losing your loved one to suicide, then you should sign up for the Healing After Suicide Loss interview series.

My friend Caro Brookings handpicked 20+ top experts, authors and support providers from the suicide grief and loss space for this free interview series on how to let go of your guilt, find peace and move forward one day at a time.

And you can get access to all of it by clicking here.
Take a look at the beautiful new mosaic
at EricsHouse. It was created by
Toscana Studio and Gallery, along with after school interns at Canyon Del Oro &
Ironwood Ridge High Schools.
Toscana Studio and Gallery is honored to present the mosaic titled “Endangered Species of the Sonoran Desert" to EricsHouse in Scottsdale, Arizona. This project was started by after school interns from Canyon Del Oro & Ironwood Ridge High schools in the fall of 2018 in Tucson, Arizona. Toscana Studio, an art school and gallery in Oro Valley, Arizona, received a very generous donation of ceramic tiles, in which these students collaborated and designed this beautiful piece of art and labor of love. It took several years to complete as it is a very large piece, unfortunately the pandemic slowed the completion by almost 2 years. 

Mosaic design & work done by Interns: Anna Jiang, Daniel Gonzalez, Ashley Wheeler, and Carl Knoll. 

Frame designed and built by Aureleo Rosano, and grout work and refinements were completed by Haley Ahearn, both Tucson mosaic artists. 

It was decided that they would donate this mosaic to a wonderful cause,
EricsHouse, something that is close & personal to the Ahearn & Toscana Family. As there have been several suicides at both of these high schools in recent years, this project brought much awareness to everyone involved and all those that witnessed its production over the years. Watching these interns collaborate and develop strong friendships throughout this process was truly rewarding. We hope that this mosaic brings those that view it a moment of peace and appreciation for the fragile lives around us and the beautiful desert that surrounds us.
Toscana Studio and Gallery 
9040 N Oracle Road
Oro Valley, AZ 85737
Join us for WorldWide Labyrinth Day
at EricsHouse on May 7th!
May 7th marks the 14th Annual Worldwide Labyrinth Day. People around the globe participate in moving meditation for world peace and a celebration of the labyrinth experience. Many "Walk as One at 1" local time to create a rolling wave of peaceful energy passing from one time zone to the next, but there are many alternate ways to participate. EricsHouse will participate again this year by hosting an event in the morning to avoid the hottest temperatures of the day (May is sometimes already more than 100F!).

All supplies will be provided. The event is free, but a $10 donation to cover supplies and support EricsHouse would be appreciated.
Join us for the Full Moon Labyrinth Walk. The moon is packed full of energy that is not to be missed. At EricsHouse, we are taking full advantage of this time and invite you to join us in a Labyrinth Walk with Gong. You will be guided to release your burdens and let go of anything that is holding you back as you begin your walk.

There is no charge for this event but you must register to attend.
Introducing a new way to GIVE BACK to EricsHouse presented by CAR Easy.
Donate your car, truck, motorcycle, RV, or boat to EricsHouse by simply clicking the button and completing the form below. Car Easy will reach out to you to arrange the pick-up of your vehicle donation, at no cost to you. You may qualify for a tax deduction while supporting a cause that is near and dear to your heart!
EMMAUS In-person Retreat
for Grieving Parents
Serving the Spiritual Needs of Grieving Parents
May 27- May 29, 2022 
at The CASA Franciscan Renewal Center located at
5802 East Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85253 • (480) 948-7460

A Spiritual Retreat for Parents Who Have Experienced
the Death of a Child of Any Age,
By Any Cause, No Matter How Long Ago
 Losing a child under any circumstances is horrific.
Focusing on the spirituality of the grieving process can help tremendously.
Just as He comforted His grieving disciples on the road to Emmaus,
Jesus comforts us and we comfort each other in this very special ministry.
Join other Emmaus Parent Companions and
our Spiritual Leader in a warm and loving place—
to think, to talk, to feel, and to pray.
Find compassion, rest, and peace… at least for a time.

Friday, May 27, 2022 at 4:00pm - Sunday, May 29, 2022 at 1:00pm
Pre-registration required. Retreat schedule includes prayer services, group presentations, spiritual reflections, breakout sessions, Emmaus Walk, & Mass.

All Are Welcome!
$135.00 Commuter
$225.00 Private Room w/Bath
$135.00 Shared Room w/Bath

For more information or to register, 
call Marianne Gouveia, Eric’s Mother at (602) 549-8932.
Upcoming Virtual Support Groups
Support Group for Men
Finding Our Way (Through Our Own Wilderness of Grief) – a closed group for up to 12 guys that will meet for 9 consecutive weeks in a virtual format. This group is be open to all losses (all relationships) to all self-harm causes (suicide, alcohol, and overdose). The group begins on Tuesday, May 17 and ends on July 12. We will meet every Tuesday from 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM MST.

This group is designed for men on their personal grief journeys, struggling to accept the reality of their loss and learning to embrace their pain while remembering their lost loved one and moving toward the hope of new found meaning and purpose. The group will be facilitated by Greg Eckerman, cofounder of EricsHouse, a suicide loss survivor, and EricsHouse Grief Companion.

If you, or a man you know, are struggling with how to survive a loss to substance abuse, suicide, or sudden traumatic death please consider one of these Men’s Groups. Contact Greg Eckerman at greg@ericshouse.org or call 480-734-3423 for more information and to discuss whether these groups might be right for you.
Support Group for Newly Bereaved Parents Who Lost a Child to
Suicide or Substance Abuse

We would like to express our deepest condolences to you and your loved ones after the loss of your child. When you’re newly bereaved, suddenly you find yourself on an emotional roller-coaster where you have no idea what to expect next. This group designed for both men and women focuses on the Six Needs of Mourning developed by Dr. Alan Wolfelt.

You will learn what to expect throughout this journey as well as learn some coping skills that will help support you, especially in the early weeks and months of your loss. This group is facilitated by Greg Eckerman and Marianne Gouveia, a married couple who has lost a child to suicide. They will share their experiences and insights and experiences and you will also hear from other parents who are facing the same devastating loss.

This support group meets virtually every week on Thursdays from 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM MST. Sessions begin on June 16 and end on July 28. We will follow The Journey Through Grief: Reflections on Healing by Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph. D. 

To see if this is the right group for you please contact Marianne at marianne@ericshouse.org or call 602-549-8932

You may also contact Madison at madison@ericshouse.org or call
Support Group for Mothers Who Lost a Child to Suicide

The loss of a child is an unspeakable trauma. When that death is caused by suicide, the pains becomes more complex. If you have lost a child to suicide, you are most likely experiencing the complicated grief that surrounds this loss. We experience feelings of shame, guilt, anger, blame, shock, and isolation that are difficult to understand.

We kindly invite you to join our group. It is a small group that includes mothers who lost a child to suicide. All of the participants are working through a complicated set of emotions. Our groups provide a safe, intimate place to talk about your feelings and honor your loved one who passed.

Meetings will be virtual. We will follow The Wilderness of Suicide Grief – Finding Your Way by Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph. D. This support group meets biweekly on Tuesday at 5:00 PM MST until 6:30 PM MST (8:00 PM EDT, 7:00 PM CDT, 5:00 PM PDT). Sessions begin on July 19 and end on November 18.

PRE-REGISTRATION is required! To see if this is the right group for you please contact Madison via email at madison@ericshouse.org or
 Patty Graham at pattygraham@ericshouse.org
Support Group for Mothers Who Lost a Child to Substance Abuse

If you have lost a child to alcohol or drugs, you are most likely experiencing the complicated grief that surrounds losing someone to substance abuse. Feelings of shame, stigma, guilt, anger, blame, shock, and isolation are all common feelings, yet they are so difficult to understand.  

We invite you to join our group. You will be part of a small group that includes other Mothers who have lost a child to substance loss. We may work through a complicated set of emotions in a supportive and comfortable environment. Our groups provide a safe, intimate place to talk about your feelings of loss and to remember the one who passed.

 We will follow The Wilderness of Grief – Finding Your Way by Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, PH. D. This support group meets biweekly on Wednesday at 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM MSTSessions begin on July 13 and end on November 2.

To see if this is the right group for you please contact Charlotte via email at charlotte@ericshouse.org.