News and events Extern News Ulster Rugby and Extern charity team-up to ‘tackle’ mental health during Stress Awareness Month Extern has teamed-up with players and coaches from its official mental health charity partner, Ulster Rugby, to record a series of short social media videos encouraging people to look after their mental health during the coronavirus lockdown this April. Ulster players and coaches from across the Senior Men’s and Women’s squads, as well as the Abbey Insurance Academy, have taken part in the initiative as part of Stress Awareness Month. They have each recorded a message offering simple and easy-to-follow advice on a range of areas, including how to cope with anxiety and isolation, balancing staying at home with young people and children, coping with living in close quarters with family, and the importance of physical activity in maintaining good mental health. Tips and advice being offered include: - Being physically active by cleaning your home, tidying up your back garden, or dancing to your favourite music. Reducing your exposure to news and social media coverage of events, if they are having a negative effect on your mental health. Making a space at home, no matter how small, that is just for you. Making time to help others who may be struggling. The videos, using the hashtag #ExternCares, will be released across April on both Ulster Rugby’s and Extern’s social media channels and more advice on staying well can be found online at the latest advice section of Extern’s website extern.org. Extern CEO Charlie Mack said: “As we begin to adjust to the new ways of living which have been imposed upon us by the coronavirus outbreak, keeping our mental health in good condition is more important than ever. Having to remain at home as much as possible, and not being able to have physical contact with our wider family and friends can, naturally, have a profound effect on how we are feeling. “These wonderful videos offer extra support to those who may be struggling, and show that however alone or isolated you feel, others are genuinely thinking about you. I would like to say a big thank you to Ulster Rugby, our much-valued charity partners, for recording these, and showing their support for those who need help.” Ulster Rugby CEO, Jonny Petrie, added: “As a club and as a governing body, we are delighted to be able to provide a voice and a platform through our senior men, women and academy players, as well as our social media channels, for the important advice that Extern has to share on how to look after your mental health at this challenging time. “Now, more than ever, it is important to bring this issue to the forefront of the public’s mind – and we are proud to stand up together in encouraging our supporters to look after their family, friends, neighbours, as well as themselves, this month and beyond.” Meanwhile, Extern has also set up a special coronavirus hardship appeal to continue to receive vital donations of money to help people who are homeless, and other families and individuals who are vulnerable at this time. The organisation has implemented wide-ranging measures to ensure that those who it supports – including people who are homeless, those facing problem drug and alcohol use, young people living in the care system, and minority communities, among others – are still able to access the life-changing supports they require. To donate to the Extern Coronavirus Hardship Appeal, please visit MAKE A DONATION NOW You can also donate £3 to help Extern tackle the impact of Coronavirus, by texting TACKLE to 70331 For up-to-date details on Extern’s service provision, please visit www.extern.org/Pages/Category/all-our-services. If you need assistance you can also telephone us: NI: +44 (0)28 90 840555 ROI: 048 90 840555 (landline) or from a mobile, dial +44 28 90 840 555 Extern is also part of the cross-border Crisis Cover initiative which is urgently recruiting paid staff members to cover various roles in the homelessness sector. Further details can be found at crisiscover.ie Extern is encouraging members of the public to follow its social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), where it is also providing regular updates and also useful advice on looking after your mental health at this unsettling time.