Nearly three years after Robin Williams’ death, his daughter, Zelda, is opening up about the importance of mental health awareness and treatment. Following her father’s death by suicide in 2014, she has become an increasingly outspoken advocate for mental health. Williams told Women’s Health on Thursday that she’s made it her mission to help others understand what it means to struggle with mental health issues that aren’t always easy to see.
“Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not ruining someone’s life,” she told the magazine. For that reason, she hopes everyone will come to realize that it’s important to seek help for emotional well-being the same way we would with our physical health.
“I’m a huge supporter of therapy, particularly for people in my age group of 25 to 30. [That’s] when a lot of people think they would have sorted through life and figured it out,” she told Women’s Health. “But therapy is still a privilege because it is so expensive for a lot of people — and I wish it was more available.”
While Williams acknowledged that mental health advocacy has come a long way thanks to celebrities coming forward to speak openly about living with mental illness, she says we still have work to do — and it begins with listening to the people in our lives.
“There’s a realization that everyone is fighting a different battle. And [even though] you can’t fight it for someone else, you can try to understand,” she told Women’s Health. The first step toward understanding — even before acceptance — is simply asking, listening, and learning rather than assuming you know what others are (or aren’t) going through.
If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.