Ulster Rugby has launched a new two-year charity partnership with Extern, with a focus on mental health and wellbeing.

Extern is the leading social justice charity on the island of Ireland, speaking up for and supporting more than 19,500 children, young people, individuals and families each year.

The charity supports those living with the impact of suicide and those dealing with mental health and drug and alcohol issues, to change their lives. Extern also supports people who are homeless or facing homelessness, refugees, people living with an offending past and the Traveller community.

Throughout the next two seasons, Ulster Rugby and Extern will work together to promote positive mental health and wellbeing with a range of joint initiatives, while some fundraising activities are also planned.

Commenting on the partnership, Ulster Rugby CEO Jonny Petrie commented:

“We are thrilled to be working with Extern as our official charity partner. Both organisations are hugely ambitious and we are incredibly excited about our joint plans for the next two seasons.

“Northern Ireland has an alarmingly high rate of mental ill-health and I think that Ulster Rugby, in conjunction with Extern, can make a difference. I hope that this partnership will bring mental health issues to the forefront of the public’s mind, provide support to those who need it, and generate funds for the vital work that Extern undertakes.

“I would encourage the Ulster Rugby community to get behind our initiatives and help us to make it a success.”

Extern’s CEO, Charlie Mack, added: “Every day in Extern, our staff see the detrimental impact mental illness has on the lives of young people, families and individuals.

“We are absolutely delighted therefore to have been chosen by Ulster Rugby as its charity partner for the next two years. By joining forces to tackle mental health together, we hope this exciting partnership will create lasting change and, ultimately, save lives.

“Extern offers a range of world class projects to help people overcome poor mental health and wellbeing. This partnership with Ulster Rugby will help Extern reach even more people in need of support and encourage more people to seek help.”

For more details on Extern's mental health services, click here