Robin Williams' Son Zak Speaks About His Dad's Effort to Prioritize His Mental Health

In an episode of 'The Dr. Oz Show' set to air Tuesday, Zak Williams, son of Robin Williams, speaks about his late dad's efforts to support his mental health.

Robin and Zak Williams

Image via Getty/Jamie McCarthy

Robin and Zak Williams

More than six years after his father's death, Robin Williams' son Zak is heading to Dr. Oz's show to speak on the importance of mental health. 

The episode is set to broadcast tomorrow (Tuesday), but some of its contents were shared with PEOPLE before the airing.

The comic legend died at the age of 63 after dying by suicide in August 2014. His widow, in addition to medical experts following his autopsy, chalked his death up to his battle with Diffuse Lewy Body dementia (DLB), a brain disease which impacts memory, thinking, and movement control, and is similar to Parkinson's.  

In the upcoming Dr. Oz Show episode, Zak talked about dealing with the loss of his father and the observations he made regarding his dad's attempts to take care of himself.

"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," Zak says, according to PEOPLE. "It was something that was a daily consideration for him.

"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."

In the episode, the younger Williams pivots to talking about how he dealt with his own depression and addiction, at first, by drinking alcohol to numb his senses, and then by turning to outside 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," he added.

PEOPLE reports that he goes on to talk about how communal support and finding purpose has helped him deal with the loss.

"I can't stress how important service is to my life," he said. "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."

Those comments are similar those he made earlier in 2020 about how working with mental health organizations while abstaining from alcohol/drugs has helped his all-around well-being. PEOPLE adds that one of the organizations Zak has worked with is "Inseparable," a policy/advocacy group that tries to link Americans with mental health care despite the disruptions caused by the ongoing pandemic. 

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