Social Issues

‘Own the feels’: New Zealand to help youth mend broken hearts

Sydney, Australia, Mar 22 (EFE).- The New Zealand government launched a campaign on Wednesday to help young people manage the pain caused by breakups, as part of a national plan to prevent youth from self-harm, suicide and domestic violence and foster positive, safe and equal relationships.

“Over 1,200 young kiwis told us they need support to deal with early experiences of love and hurt, and break-ups were identified as a common challenge,” said Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment Priyanca Radhakrishnan in a statement

“We know that break-ups hurt. We want to support our young people to deal with the hurt and know that there is a way through without harming themselves or others.”

The campaign, called “Love Better,” and which has been disseminated in the media and on social networks, allows young people experiencing a breakup to receive emotional and psychological support by email, phone or instant messaging service.

The launch was accompanied by a one-minute video that asks young people to “own the feels.”

“OK, I’m doing it. I’m officially deleting my ex from all my socials,” a young woman says in the video. “I’m moving on.”

A young man, also working up to blocking their ex, says: “This is ridiculous. This is getting so out of hand. I need to sleep at night.”

According to a survey cited by the Ministry for Social Development, around 68 percent of research respondents expressed having “bad experiences” beyond the normal hurt of a breakup.

Among the breakup consequences were self-harm, depression, risky sexual behavior and violence and coercion – including blackmail, jealousy, revenge, possessiveness and stalking.

The campaign aims to help young people acknowledge their pain and normalize asking for help, without causing harm to themselves or others.

The New Zealand authorities, supported by various scientific and academic studies, recognize that the first signs of controlling and coercive behaviors occur mainly through technological devices, social networks and smartphones.

Radhakrishnan said that this campaign, which includes young New Zealanders sharing real stories to help their peers who may be going through similar experiences, is part of a novel approach to developing positive and long-term attitudes to managing grief.

“This is an authentic way to inspire others to build their own strength, self-worth, and resilience,” the minister said.

“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.”

The Love Better campaign, which will cost about NZ$6.4 million ($4 million) over three years, stems from the Youth Plan 2020-2022.

The initiative targets some 850,000 people between the ages of 12 and 24, including Maori, Pacific Islanders and the LGBT+ community. EFE


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