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Love better initiative gains momentum among the youth


Relationship breakup support service gains recognition (INL Image)

Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, September 14, 2023

Launched in March 2023, the ‘Love Better’ youth campaign aims to promote positive, safe, and equal relationships, with a current focus on break-ups. The campaign has had significant positive interest from New Zealand as well as overseas media.

As of 31 July, 2023, ‘Love Better’ social media has received over 31 million impressions and over 5 million engagements across Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Campaign podcasts have been listened to over 101,000 times.

The campaign includes dedicated social media channels, editorial and podcasts and from early September is expanding outside into physical spaces and onto TV and radio.

While the Love Better content targets all youth, Rainbow youth (LGBTQIA+) and ethnic or recent migrant and refugee communities are being prioritised in the campaign communication.

‘Own the Feels’ presented by Love Better Campaign (Image Supplied)

About the Campaign

‘Love Better’ is a primary prevention campaign aimed at fostering safe, positive, and equal relationships. It is a whole-of-population campaign that aims to disrupt and/or shift harmful discourses and behaviours around relationships that are universal and affect all young people.

Ministry of Social Development (MSD) developed a plan to ensure social marketing, youth development and prevention approaches followed best practices, which included an extensive literature review by the University of Otago and formative audience research. As a result of the research and input from a number of key academics, MSD partnered with Clemenger BBDO to develop a primary creative concept and a proposal for execution.

The Campaign for Action on Family Violence received increased funding from Budget 2019 to develop a new campaign targeting young people (16 -24 years). Further investment to support this work over the next three years has been provided through Budget 2022.

Break Ups hurt

According to the research conducted for the campaign, Bad experiences (beyond the ‘normal’ hurt of breaking up) had been experienced by 68% of research respondents. Consequences of break-ups included self-harm, depression, substance abuse, risky sexual behaviours, and violence and coercion, including blackmail, jealousy and revenge, possessiveness, and stalking.

“Feeling hurt as a result of a breakup is a normal part of being human. How we respond to that hurt can cause more hurt or even harm to ourselves and others. A concept was developed that asks young people to Own the Feels,” said a spokesperson.

‘Own the Feels’ supports young people to acknowledge or own their pain and to channel it into something positive for themselves, this includes normalising or removing the stigma attached to asking for help.

This phase is aimed at acknowledging that break-ups hurt but there is a way through without harming themselves or others. The campaign focuses on building the skills and knowledge that young people need to safely navigate break-ups, whilst creating a peer-to-peer community to learn from and inspire each other.

A welcome initiative

The concept has resonated well with young people during testing as well as since its launch in March 2023. Positive sentiment was generally based on acknowledging that young people often do not have the experience or emotional maturity, to deal with the big feelings that occur during a break-up.

Young people expressed a desire to learn how to avoid causing unnecessary hurt or harm to themselves and to others often expressed as a desire to ‘not do something I might regret’. 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 were ground-breaking.

“We know there can be very negative impacts from breakups 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.”

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

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