Robin Williams' son Zak Williams is urging people to prioritize mental health six years after the actor died by suicide at the age of 63. During Tuesday's new episode of The Dr. Oz Show, Zak revealed that he came to terms with his own mental health after losing his father in in August 2014, as per PEOPLE.
Prior to Williams' death, the comedian suffered from Lewy Body Dementia, which affects thinking, memory and movement. Zak revealed that throughout his dad's life, he made sure to be aware of his own mental well-being, especially when it came to depression and substance abuse. "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. "It was something that was a daily consideration for him."
Zak said it was "clear" to him that his father prioritized mental health throughout "most of his life," noting how the Mrs. Doubtfire actor would go through "great lengths" to support himself and others in his life. When the PYM founder was struggling with the loss of his father, he found himself also dealing with depression and addiction, but followed his father's model to seek help.
"I found myself hitting rock bottom when I wanted to just be numb. I found myself wanting to drink alcohol and just not think," he recalled of the days after Williams' death. "That was something that was really dysregulating for me." Waking up in the morning, Zak continued he felt like he was having a "dissociative experience," but realized he didn't want to be living the life he was. "I realized something had to give," he shared.
Zak has managed to find "forms of healing, specifically relating to not only a healthy lifestyle, but also connecting with people," that have helped his mental state over the years. "I can't stress how important service is to my life. The other thing is I found community support groups to be really helpful. I'm in a 12-Step program, that's very helpful for me personally. For others, it might be connecting through community organization or through sports, there's any number of things."
If you or someone you know are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.0comments