“The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by.” - Felix Adler
The Psych Congress community lost a family member. Eric Arauz was a dear and well-respected colleague, passionate mental health advocate, Psych Congress Steering Committee member and faculty, and above all, friend.
Eric joined the Psych Congress faculty in 2014. His contributions to shaping mental health education are countless. Eric brought a unique perspective to the committee as someone who himself had a mental illness and was a champion deeply committed to fighting the stigma of mental illness. He was a frequent keynote speaker at Psych Congress events across the U.S. An attendee who once heard him speak said, “Eric is a true gift to humanity.”
Most recently, Eric served as a mentor and moderator for our inaugural re:Think initiative launched in February at Elevate by Psych Congress. The success of this educational experience – that challenges mental health professionals to rethink their approach to mental health care – was due largely to Eric’s leadership, enthusiasm, and vision.
Above all, Eric’s gift was in using his abundant empathy and energy to help people feel hope when they may have felt none. He touched the lives of so many – both within our community and beyond.
As a community, we gather at Psych Congress each year to learn, connect, and grow together– so it is only fitting then that we offer you a place to mourn this great loss together. Please use this space to post your condolences, thoughts, and stories, so they can be collected and shared as a tribute to Eric’s life and legacy.
In an interview several years back, Eric noted that if he has learned anything from his battle with mental illness, it is that, “serenity is a gift, not a promise.” Let us take comfort that after giving so much of himself to others – Eric now has the promise of peace.
Taking Up the Task of ‘Double Living’
Many of you may be asking, “How do we honor Eric’s legacy?” Right now, our emotions are too raw to know the exact next steps. Henry David Thoreau observed that upon the death of a friend, we should consider that fate has put on us the task of ‘double living’ – meaning it becomes up to us to fulfill the promise of our friend's life, as well as our own. In the days and weeks ahead, we begin the task of ‘double living’ – and working to identify the best ways to honor Eric and his enormous contributions. We will share these details with you as soon as we know more.