Ulster Rugby have announced that they have launched a new two-year charity partnership with social justice charity Extern.
The largest charity of its kind in Ireland, Extern speaks up for and supporting more than 19,500 children, young people, individuals and families each year.
The charity does excellent work to support people who have been impacted by suicide, and those who are suffering from mental health, drug or alcohol issues to change their lives.
Extern have also done work with the homeless community and those who are at risk of becoming homeless, as well as with refugees, previous offenders and those in the Traveller community.
As part of their partnership, Ulster Rugby will work with Extern to promote positive mental health and well-being through various initiatives, with the pair planning some joint fund-raising activities.
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."