Zak Williams also opened up about his own struggles with depression following his father's untimely death.
The world lost a gem on August 11, 2014, when Robin Williams died by suicide at 63. Now, six years after his death, Williams' son Zak is speaking out about the importance of mental health and describing his personal struggles with it. In the latest episode of The Dr. Oz Show, the 37-year-old revealed that his father had spent a lot of time taking care of his own mental health. "I was acutely aware of my dad's struggles with depression, it manifested in addiction at times, and he took great lengths to support his well-being and mental health, especially when he was challenged," he said, according to PEOPLE. "It was something that was a daily consideration for him."
He continued, "The main thing for me was noticing how he went through great lengths to support himself while he could show up for others. It was clear that he prioritized his mental health throughout most of his life, at least that I experienced with him." He then went on to share his own struggles with depression and addiction following the death of his father. Recalling his struggles with depression and addiction following his dad's death, he said, "I found myself hitting rock bottom when I wanted to just be numb. I found myself wanting to drink alcohol and just not think. That was something that was really dysregulating for me."
But then Zak realized that he needed help. "I found myself waking up in the morning and feeling like I was having a dissociative experience, but I just didn't want to be living the life I was living. I realized something had to give." Everyone heals in different ways and for the actor, "forms of healing, specifically relating to not only a healthy lifestyle, but also connecting with people," seemed to help heal his mental health extremely. Previously, Zak spoke to PEOPLE and revealed that he is involved with a mental health organization called Inseparable, a national organization that is focused on creating a "pragmatic mental health policy."
The son of the late comedian is serving as an advisor for the organization which aims at introducing a political change, making sure Americans are granted access to mental health care, irrespective of where they are during the ongoing pandemic. "The coronavirus pandemic has brought light to a parallel pandemic that's happening," explained Zak. "We are experiencing from it as a direct result of the pandemic... a shared trauma that's becoming quite acute as a result of everything that people have been through both in terms of the devastating economic effects, the isolation and a lot of circumstances from communities."
Speaking about his personal commitment, he continued, "I stay away from drugs and alcohol, I commit to support groups. One thing I found very healing for me through my experience has been service and commitment to service work specifically around mental health and mental health support organizations. Eating well, committing to a healthy lifestyle. Things that I need in my weekly and daily regimen to better support my well-being." He is also on the board of Bring Change to Mind, a nonprofit by Glenn Close that works to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. Zak revealed that he became a mental health advocate after his father died by suicide in 2014.
If you think you might have symptoms of depression or other conditions, please reach out to your local social worker or GP. In case of suicidal thoughts, please contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433).