Coronation Street actor opens up on ‘dark times’ after quitting soap


CORONATION Street star Jamie Kenna has issued a touching message to those feeling lonely on Christmas Day.

The actor – who played Phill Whittaker on the ITV soap – opened up about “dark times” he’s experienced as he urged those in the same position to get help.

Corrie’s Jamie Kenna opened up about ‘dark times’ he’s experienced

He has urged people feeling low at Christmas to reach out to loved ones

Although the festive season can be a time of joy and cheer, TV star Jamie, 48, reminded his followers that some people may be feeling “isolated” and will need extra support this time of year.

Sharing a video on Instagram, Jamie said: “Merry Christmas, I just wanted to jump on here because I was thinking on the way to work this morning, I love Christmas, Christmas is my favourite time of year.

“I’ve got two little kids and I can live vicariously through them and the whole Santa Claus thing is brilliant.

“But also I’ve had my dark times and I know how that feels and when you’re in one of those dark spots or if you know someone in one of dark spots, Christmas can be horrible.

“It can really rub salt in the wound when you’re supposed to be feeling festive and full of love and joyous spirit, but all you want to do is hide under a duvet.”

The Peaky Blinders star told his fans that there was no better time to reach out to those you haven’t spoken to in years.

“So I just wanted to reach out to those of you who feel that way or you may know someone who feels that way,” he continued.

“Don’t feel you’re going to kill someone’s Christmas buzz by talking about it, don’t feel you’re going to ruin someone’s Christmas by picking up the phone…just do it and don’t be alone.

“If now is the time to reach out then do it, now is the hardest time of the year because you feel very lonely and isolated and you’re going to be the Grinch, but you’re really not.

“Christmas is all about wrapping yourself around people you love and care for and that might be someone you haven’t spoken to for years and all of a sudden they pick up the phone.

“So just be aware of that and if you feeling that way, reach out, please reach out and say something and you won’t regret it.”

Jamie has previously spoken about living with anxiety and opened up about a past breakdown.

He suffered a mental breakdown a decade ago and hopes that speaking about his ordeal will push people to do the same.

“I want to use my platform to help people”, he said, “I’m a big, working-class guy who looks like he should be on a building site but I’m not afraid to turn round and say if I’m scared or worried,” he told The Mirror.

Jamie said his mental health issues began in 2011 after he experienced difficulties while swimming in a rough sea.

An avid open water swimmer, he had swum the Channel a few months before and spent hours swimming Windermere.

“But I pushed my luck”, he admitted.

“It was December, I was out in the Channel and the sea was too big and freezing cold and I went too far out.”

“I had my first panic attack but I happened to have it in the middle of the ocean. I was about 200m out and it was a very exposing moment.”

The 46-year-old feared he wouldn’t make it but ultimately managed to swim back to shore.

“I thought that I was invincible but when I got myself into trouble it opened a can of worms”, he remembered.

“I suddenly became aware of my own mortality and that triggered a lot of anxiety, panic attacks and depression.”

Jamie spent three years not saying anything about his turmoil but couldn’t deny it any longer when he had a breakdown in 2014.

At the time, he was appearing in the play War Horse in London.

After visits to the doctor and several therapies, Jamie grew an understanding around his own mental health.

Jamie even picked swimming back up and often takes a dip near the Brighton home he shares with his other half and their two children.

Jamie played Jennie McAlpine‘s character’s spurned lover Phill and left the soap earlier this year.

Jamie played Phill Whittaker on the ITV soap