For Round 25 the Pirtek Parramatta Eels take on the St George Illawarra Dragons at ANZ stadium. Along with charity partner, The Black Dog Institute, the Eels will be playing their last home game for the 2013 NRL season.


This year has seen an ongoing partnership with the Black Dog Institute with several of the Parramatta Eels players acting as proud ambassadors.


As part of this collaborative effort, Nathan Smith, Ben Smith and Mitchel Allgood visited Parramatta High School to give a talk to local teens about the signs and symptoms of depression, highlighting the importance of speaking out.


"They've shown some real initiative in helping to reduce the stigma and increase the awareness around depression and bipolar disorder," Fleur Mortimer of the Black Dog Institute said.


Mitch Allgood said it was a great experience to be able to give back a little bit to the community.


Its a really big thing for us letting kids know that its alright to talk about your feelings and if youre going through any tough times, to speak to someone to get help.


Mitch spoke from his own experience of losing a close friend to suicide and said it was this experience that inspired him to work with the Black Dog Institute.


All three of us, Nathan, Ben and myself have experienced some mood disorder in our life whether through someone else or personally.


Mitch has found raising awareness to be a very rewarding job and praised the Black Dog Institute for their work in the field of diagnosing and treating mental illness.


They do so much for everyone, including cutting edge technology. They find the best ways to treat bipolar depression.


Nathan Smith was surprised at the great reception from the teenagers at the high school.


This is a critical time in their life where they will discover if they will have problems," he said.


"If we can get into their heads that there are problems like this but also ways to overcome them then weve done our job.


Making a connection to the teenagers is an important part of these talks. Nathan spoke about his own personal experiences and felt this level of honesty is an important part of making the kids comfortable with talking about their own issues.


To hear from ourselves that weve been through problems, weve known people who have had problems. It helps kids to establish a connection to us. They can then tell someone close to them. It makes a huge difference to them.


Mitch Allgood and Nathan Smith also ran in the City2Surf on 11th August for the Black Dog Institute, raising a substantial amount for the charity. September is Exercise Your Mood month in which the Institute encourages sport and exercise as a healthy practice for treating depression.


Click here to find out more about the Black Dog Institute.