Coronation Street star Jamie Kenna has spoken out over life-threatening panic attacks and depression in an effort to “help people”.

The actor, who portrays Phill Whittaker on the long-running ITV soap, used his platform to speak out as a “working-class guy”.

He said: "I want to use my platform to help people, 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."

The actor revealed his mental health battle was sparked by swimming in the Channel in December.

He said: "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.

"I thought that I was invincible but when I got myself into trouble it opened a can of worms.

He added: "I suddenly became aware of my own mortality and that triggered a lot of anxiety, panic attacks and depression."

Speaking about his meltdown, he said: "I was completely melting down and knew something was wrong. I was going to the doctor – I thought it was my heart or brain.

"Now I understand it. I’m not afraid to turn to my wife and say, ‘I’m having a bit of a moment’.

 "As soon as you say it out loud it helps calm you down."