Now, his son Zak Williams is honoring his late father’s memory by helping to launch Inseparable, a new organization advocating for better access to mental health care amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
“The coronavirus pandemic has brought light to a parallel pandemic that’s happening,” he told People. “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 in terms of the devastating economic effects, the isolation and a lot of the circumstances from communities.”
The son of the iconic comedian says he was inspired to champion mental health after the tragic loss of his father. On Twitter, he announced his involvement with Inseparable, saying all Americans should be able to access mental health care.
I joined the @IAmInseparable advisory board because I believe we need pragmatic mental health policy that unlocks care for ALL Americans.
— Zak Williams (@zakwilliams) May 19, 2020
Zak, 37, said that he self-medicated and faced his own mental health challenges in the wake of his father’s death but is now clean and sober. In addition to his commitment to mental health advocacy, he said he uses support groups, a healthy lifestyle, self-care and support from his family to manage his own state of mind. He’s engaged to model Olivia June, and they share a 1-year-old son, McLaurin Clement.
Zak hopes that his son will grow up in a world where mental health care is less stigmatized.
“[Becoming a dad] completely changes you, but [gives you] perspective on what it takes to actually show up for another person,” he told People. “To be a present and engaged parent requires focus and commitment to time and effort that … it’s a lot. But the rewards are unlike anything I’ve experienced before.”
To learn more about Inseparable and how you can get involved or donate, visit their website.