This Government Is Putting Millions Into Helping Teens Cope With Breakups

It’s part of a wider initiative to eliminate harm and violence within relationships in the country.

New Zealand is pledging to help teens cope with heartache. Announced Wednesday(Opens in a new tab), the new government initiative will aim to help young people in the country through their breakups, by “developing positive and life-long attitudes to dealing with hurt.”

The initiative, called Love Better, has been given 6.4 million New Zealand dollars ($4 million) by the country’s Ministry of Social Development. The cost will be allocated over three years.

Priyanca Radhakrishnan, associate minister for Social Development and Employment, said 1,200 young New Zealanders surveyed told the government “they need support to deal with early experiences of love and hurt,” with breakups being deemed “a common challenge.” 68 percent(Opens in a new tab) of those surveyed said that breakups led them to face consequences like depression, risky sexual behaviours, violence, jealousy, and stalking.

The campaign strategy(Opens in a new tab) is rooted in fostering safe and equal relationships, helping young people to navigate discourse surrounding relationships and their own expectations. The goal is to support teenagers in identifying and avoiding abuse, ultimately learning how to love better. This approach was developed alongside young people, mental health experts, and government officials.

“Love Better, which asks young people to ‘own the feels,’ is a primary prevention campaign that features young people sharing real stories to help their peers who may be going through similar experiences,” said Radhakrishnan.

The campaign features real footage(Opens in a new tab) of young people telling stories of their breakups, with the content being posted across social media. One video(Opens in a new tab) starts off with the words, “Breakups suck.” Soon after, videos taken by teens on their phones are shown; one girl says to the camera: “I’m officially deleting my ex from all my socials. I’m moving on.”

“This campaign sits alongside work already underway to support young people with healthy boundaries and attitudes to relationships,” said Marama Davidson, minister for the Prevention of Family Violence and Sexual Violence.

The Love Better initiative is part of a wider approach to breaking harm within relationships and families. Called Te Aorerekura(Opens in a new tab), the 25-year strategy from the ministry seeks to eliminate violence and strengthen prevention.

“This approach hasn’t been trialled by any government around the world. New Zealand has shameful statistics of family and sexual violence and we need innovative approaches to break the cycle,” Radhakrishnan said.

Culture Reporter

Meera is a Culture Reporter at Mashable, joining the UK team in 2021. She writes about digital culture, mental health, big tech, entertainment, and more. Her work has also been published in The New York Times, Vice, Vogue India, and others.

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