Louis Smith says the "hardest part" of depression is trying to get people to understand what it feels like.

Louis Smith

Louis Smith

The retired Olympic gymnast - who turns 30 today (22.04.19) - has been open about his struggles with his mental health in the past, and he has candidly revealed how difficult it can be to explain it to anyone who hasn't been through it themselves.

Speaking exclusively to BANG Showbiz, he said "Unless the person listening is a professional, or has been through depression - or is going through depression - as well, it's very hard for the person on the receiving end to understand what that person is going through.

"I think that was definitely one of my biggest issues, and still is today - trying to explain to people that want to know and help what depression is. And you can't really, you can't put a finger on it.

"It's just a dark cloud that sometimes gets darker and darker, and bigger and bigger, and sometimes it's just away in the distance but you can always see. You can't put a finger on it, you can't explain why it's happening, how to get out from it."

The former 'Strictly Come Dancing' champion - who won the BBC's ballroom contest in 2012 - admitted there is a "stigma" when it comes to men and mental health, and he said it is important for people in the public eye to speak out about such serious issues.

He added: "There's that stigma there that men have to hold stuff together, and be the macho one, nothing can go wrong with men. It's very far from the truth. I think it's important for everyone to speak out, especially men. And not everything can be ok - it's important to accept that."

After announcing his sporting retirement late last year, Louis has revealed he is in a great place right now, and heaped praised on the team behind the 'Rip It Up' West End show.

He said: "Yeah, life's been really good. I've been really busy dancing in a West End show, eight shows a week. That's taken up a lot of my time and energy, but what an experience! I'm absolutely loving it, the cast and the friends that I'm dancing with are absolutely insane. I feel very lucky."

Louis was talking after taking part in a new campaign from Huawei and the RSPCA, which is promoting the use of the Huawei P30 Pro phone to increase photo quality and help more animals get adopted.

The dog loving star - who filmed mini documentary 'The Unadoptables' for the campaign - added: "When you think about it, us as humans, we judge everything by the way we look at it. You got into the shop and you're buying fruit, you always pick what you think to be the nicest looking fruit, and things like that.

"Everything is based around image, and if it helps improve these animal's chances of being adopted then it's absolutely fantastic."

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