@meafterwe, we're supporting teens through #heartbreak

. 3 min read
The All Mental Health Team

The Problem

Breakups have a substantial impact on the mental health of young adults. They are linked to increased suicidal tendencies, higher levels of depression symptoms, anxiety, irritability and trouble concentrating, and substance use. Breakups are the most frequently reported problem at student health centers, and relationships are the second biggest conversation topic for the Crisis Text Line (second only to depression).

Though breakups can be devastating, they are also common. In a survey of young people with a median age of 20, 98% had experienced at least one breakup, 40% of which were during the past 20 months.

Our Mission

All Mental Health is a technology-driven nonprofit with a mission to increase access to mental health resources by meeting populations where they are online. @meafterwe aims to support young adults through difficult breakups to prevent adverse mental health impacts now and in the future. We see @meafterwe as an opportunity not just to help young people survive breakups, but also to gain coping skills, increase their self-worth, and to understand how to create healthier future relationships.

Our Solution

@meafterwe is a social media movement on instagram that supports young people through breakups by validating their experience, while also helping them envision and create an inspiring future.

Effective

Our psychological targets are to decrease stigma, depression symptoms, and rumination, and to increase social support, distress tolerance skills, positive self-regard, somatic awareness, and the ability to see a positive future. Content pulls from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), interpersonal psychotherapy, and mindfulness-based self-compassion.

Engaging

We involve our target population in the design and content-creation process. We’ve interviewed and surveyed more than 75 young adults, and don’t plan on stopping. We know that Gen Z demands and appreciates authenticity, and that’s why our content highlights their words and stories.

@meafterwe builds resilience in five ways:

New Routine:

New Routine instagram posts and stories pull from behavioral activation, SMART goals, CBT, and interpersonal psychotherapy to challenge young people to make small actionable changes that will add up positively over time. Everything from reaching out to old friends to encouraging them to take care of their basic needs can be found in New Routine.

Journal Prompts:

Journal Prompts instagram posts and stories pull from CBT, DBT, interpersonal psychotherapy, and mindfulness to help young adults be present with what they’re feeling, make meaning from their experience, challenge their disordered thoughts, and put the breakup into the context of their larger life story.

Remember:

Remember includes positive affirmations and shared experiences to help normalize the struggle of breakups and encourage more positive self-regard.

Feel Better:

Feel Better teaches in-the-moment distress tolerance skills for when a young person is feeling particularly overwhelmed. We also have content and policies for referring individuals to crisis resources.

meafterwe:

A place for shared stories from the community to normalize the struggle, build community, and inspire hope for the future.


References

Bartels, A., & Zeki, S. (2000). The neural basis of romantic love: NeuroReport, 11(17), 3829–3834. https://doi.org/10.1097/00001756-200011270-00046

Crisis Text Line. (2019). 100 Things We Learned from 100M Messages. Retrieved December 12, 2019, from Crisis Text Line website: https://www.crisistextline.org/blog/100-facts-we-learned-from-100-million-messages

Field, T. (2011). Romantic breakups, heartbreak and bereavement. 921 Psychology, 2(4), 382–387. https://doi.org/10.4236/psych.2011.24060

Field, T., Diego, M., Pelaez, M., Deeds, O., & Delgado, J. (2011, September 1). Breakup distress in university students: A review. Retrieved September 30, 2019, from College Student Journal website: https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A270894533/AONE?sid=lms

Fleming, C. B., White, H. R., Oesterle, S., Haggerty, K. P., & Catalano, R. F. (2010). Romantic relationship status changes and substance use among 18- to 20-year-olds. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 71(6), 847–856. https://doi.org/10.15288/jsad.2010.71.847

O’Sullivan, L., Hughes, K., Talbot, F., & Fuller, R. (2019). Plenty of Fish in the Ocean: How do Traits Reflecting Resiliency Moderate Adjustment After Experiencing a Romantic Breakup in Emerging Adulthood? Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 48. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-019-00985-5

Rhoades, G. K., Kamp Dush, C. M., Atkins, D. C., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2011). Breaking up is hard to do: The impact of unmarried relationship dissolution on mental health and life satisfaction. Journal of Family Psychology, 25(3), 366–374. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0023627