By Tara Subramaniam, Mar. 23: New Zealand thinks it’s time for its teenagers to say “thank u, next” to their exes and they’re spending millions to make it happen.
The Love Better campaign, launched Wednesday, will receive $4 million (NZ$ 6.4 million) over three years from the Ministry of Social Development to help teens recover from breakups and minimize harm in their relationships, CNN affiliate RNZ reported.
The campaign is being driven by New Zealand’s youth and what the government says they’ve identified as one of their key issues.
“Over 1,200 young kiwis told us they need support to deal with early experiences of love and hurt, and breakups were identified as a common challenge,” Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment Priyanca Radhakrishnan said in a statement.
“Breakups suck,” a promotional video for the campaign declares. The video features clips of teens talking about needing to block their exes and move on from their past relationships, with one saying: “This is getting ridiculous. This is getting so out of hand. I need to sleep at night. I need to get over her.”
Part of the campaign – which uses the tagline “own the feels” – includes a dedicated phone, text or email helpline for young people going through a breakup, run by Youthline, an organization dedicated to supporting people ages 12 to 24. Youthline is receiving a portion of the $4 million to support this expansion of its existing helpline service.
“This is an authentic way to inspire others to build their own strength, self-worth, and resilience,” Radhakrishnan said in the statement, noting the Love Better campaign’s approach leveraging social media and creating a community to address the impact of breakups has not been tried before.
“We know there can be very negative impacts from breakups done badly – both at a personal and community level,” Youthline’s chief executive Shae Ronald said, adding that relationship issues were one of the top reasons young people generally contacted the helpline, RNZ reported.
According to the Ministry of Social Development, a survey of 1,200 young New Zealanders found that 68% had experienced something bad “beyond the ‘normal’ hurt of breaking up.”
Radhakrishnan said the goal of the campaign is to support young people through “these formative experiences” in hopes of positively impacting how they approach future relationships.
The Love Better campaign is part of the government’s broader national strategy to eliminate family violence and sexual violence.
“New Zealand has shameful statistics of family and sexual violence and we need innovative approaches to break the cycle,” Radhakrishnan added.
According to the Ministry of Justice, each year, the New Zealand Police investigate more than 100,000 incidents of family violence.
In 2020, police received 9,723 reports of sexual violence and about half of the people who reported a sexual violence offence in New Zealand were under the age of 18 at the time of the incident, according to the Ministry of Justice.