22 Mar 2023

Love Better: Relationship break-up support campaign launches

12:21 pm on 22 March 2023

The government has launched campaign to help young people navigate break-ups with the long-term aim of preventing family violence, believed to be the first of its kind.

Love Better is a programme run by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) with support from Youthline, and offers a text, phone or email contact with advice specifically for young people going through a relationship breakup.

Funded by $6.4 million over three years through previously announced allocations, although just a fraction of that was going towards Youthline directly. 

The campaign followed 2022 research by Kantar which found 62 percent of people aged 16 to 24 had been through a break-up, with 72 percent of reporting harm or having done harm.

Youthline chief executive Shae Ronald said relationship issues were one of the top reasons young people contacted the helpline, and the initiative and the research behind it was groundbreaking. 

"We know there can be very negative impacts from break ups done badly – both at a personal and community level," she said.

"We commend MSD for the bold and innovative mahi they are undertaking in collaboration with young people to equip young people with support and tools to be able to navigate these without harming themselves or others."

Priyanca Radhakrishnan.

Associate Social Development Minister Priyanca Radhakrishnan Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Associate Social Development Minister Priyanca Radhakrishnan and Family and Sexual Violence Prevention Minister Marama Davidson launched the service from the Youthline offices in Auckland this morning.

Radhakrishnan said supporting young people through these formative experiences could improve how they approached relationships in future.

"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," she said.

"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."

She said the programme had not been trialled by any government around the world, but New Zealand needed innovative approaches to "break the cycle" of New Zealand's "shameful statistics".

Davidson welcomed the launch as an extension of the government's delivery on Te Aorerekura, the National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence.

Green Party Co-Leader Marama Davidson

Family and Sexual Violence Prevention Minister Marama Davidson Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

"Since the launch of Te Aorerekura and our initial Action Plan in December 2021, all 40 actions are under way.

"This campaign sits alongside work already under way to support young people with healthy boundaries and attitudes to relationships, including the refresh of the school curriculum."

The service can be accessed by texting 234 or emailing lovebetter@youthline.co.nz.

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