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Robin Williams' Son Speaks Out

'There’s no education in place to tell you how to deal with this,' says Zak Williams of dad's suicide
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2019 10:30 AM CDT
Zak Williams is seen in New York on Oct. 5, 2016.   (Photo by Christopher Smith/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – Robin Williams' son, Zak, speaks out on losing his dad to suicide in three new images for the Faces of Fortitude suicide awareness campaign. While he says the past three years have been "healing" for him—his father died nearly five years ago—Zak says he first had to go through some really hard times. "I was seeking solace and healing through my grieving," he says. "Once I took out all the inputs and elements of self medications, it all became really raw. It was super painful. I had to stop thinking big and expansive to heal everyone and look inward. I found a lot in there. I realized I wasn't broken. There was a lot of strength I didn't know was in there."

Williams, 36, who's featured in the photos by project creator and photographer Mariangela Abeo, also notes that he had to learn how to get through all this: "There's no education in place to tell you how to deal with this. To balance how to grieve privately with your family and then also to have to grieve publicly." Williams serves on the board for Bring Change to Mind, which aims to end the stigma around mental illness. As Entertainment Weekly notes, Faces of Fortitude began when Abeo shared her own self-portrait online, along with her thoughts after losing her brother to suicide. Since then, she's taken and shared photos of many others who've been impacted by suicide. Of Williams, she says that hearing his story gave her "solace" about how she handled her brother's death: "It's nice to know that no matter who you are, how you were raised, or where you live, that our reactions to trauma are parallel." (Read more Robin Williams stories.)

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