Robin Williams' son Zak on how his mental health advocacy helped him cope with his father's death

PHOTO: Zak Williams and Robin Williams attend the Timo Pre Fall 2009 Launch with Interview Magazine at Phillips De Pury, Nov. 18, 2008, in New York City.PlayJamie McCarthy/WireImage/Getty Images, FILE
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Five years after the death of Robin Williams, the children of the beloved comedian have emerged as passionate advocates in support of those suffering from depression and mental health issues.

Williams took his own life on Aug. 11, 2014 at the age of 63.

Zak Williams founded the mental health support company PYM Health, and last week, he spoke to, a website dedicated to mental health support, and revealed his own experience with crippling depression and how he was "traumatized" by his father's death.

While he said he had to face his own struggles first, Zak Williams said it was through connecting with and helping others that he was able to "heal and cope with the trauma" of his own painful loss.

"What I neglected to do after my dad’s passing was take care of myself. You can’t be there for others if you are not paying attention to your needs and struggles. Take the time to do what you need to do to get through the day first. Then you’ll have a fuller cup to be there for others. Also support groups were really helpful for me," he added.

"I found great help for me personally at my lowest times in volunteering and doing service work," he added, saying that that work had included teaching financial literacy in prison. "After that, I found that being vulnerable and open about my struggles seemed to actually help others. So I just kind of kept on doing it. I love it as I find it healing personally."

His sister, Zelda Williams has frequently spoken out about her own struggles and worked with organizations to help raise awareness around mental health.

PHOTO: Robin Williams attends an event in Beverly Hills, Calif., Nov. 5, 2011. Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP, FILE
Robin Williams attends an event in Beverly Hills, Calif., Nov. 5, 2011.

In the vain of continuing to be vulnerable, Williams added in the interview that he personally has dealt with "anxiety and depression."

"[I] found myself self-medicating and generally unhappy, so when it came to speaking about my and my family struggles personally, it just sort of clicked," he added. "In terms of honoring [my father] personally I have an eleven week old son so at this point it mainly involves being a present father."

Williams and his family welcomed McLaurin Clement Williams in May. McLaurin was Robin Williams' middle name.

In the new interview with, Williams said that when he stopped self-medicating for his depression, he was able to manage his mental health.

"I was masking the pain with alcohol often and that just made things worse," he said, echoing is father's own frank comments about his own struggles with the disease. "Eating well and getting outdoors around nature is also really helpful for me. If self-medication isn’t an issue then finding opportunities to connect with people is helpful."