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New Initiative Addresses Silent Epidemic with Comprehensive Outreach and Awareness Programs
Albuquerque, NM — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) and Love Is Respect, the ultimate source of support for young people to prevent and end dating abuse, have announced a joint initiative to bring a comprehensive program to spread awareness and promote healthy relationships to 100 schools in New Mexico.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 9.2 percent of high school students in New Mexico actually report physical abuse. However, one in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner — a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence — and nearly 1.5 million high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
This new collaboration with Love Is Respect will reduce the growing epidemic of teen dating violence with tailored, "on-the-ground" outreach and awareness programs that will better equip our schools, families, and communities with the information and resources needed to respond to this issue. Through this alliance, communities in New Mexico will learn to identify the warning signs of and better respond to teen dating violence through the creation of school-based initiatives such as "Love Is Respect institutes." Free toolkits will be sent out and will include a curriculum that leverages technology to provide teachers with web-based activities and methods for creating a supportive community.
"As a result of BCBSNM's support, our innovative service-learning programs will help young people develop healthy definitions of positive relationships. We're creating, conducting, evaluating, and distributing a comprehensive dating abuse prevention program that will lead to measurable successes," said Cristina Escobar, director of Love Is Respect.
"We are honored to have an opportunity to team with other organizations who share our commitment to creating pathways for teenagers, their families, and friends to build relationships of warmth, mutual respect, and love," said Dr. Eugene Sun, chief medical officer, BCBSNM. "In our initiative with Love Is Respect, we have tailored the program to New Mexico to spread awareness and provide support to prevent teen dating violence and abuse. Our collective goal is to create safe environments that allow teens to decide when, where, and how they want to talk about difficult issues and situations."
This program is in conjunction with BCBSNM's Healthy Kids, Healthy Families (HKHF), a three-year initiative that pulls together local, state, and national resources in an effort to make a significant impact on childhood health and wellness.
The HKHF initiative invests in and partners with nonprofit organizations that offer sustainable, measurable programs to reach children and their families in four pillar categories including supporting safe environments, nutrition education, physical activity, and disease prevention and management. Additional "Healthy Kids, Healthy Families" pillar partners include:
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico
With 300,000 members and serving another 100,000 New Mexicans through the nationwide BlueCard® Program, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico is the largest commercial membership health insurer in New Mexico. Since 1940, BCBSNM has been committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and communities through accessible, cost-effective, quality health care. BCBSNM is a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, the country's largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall. Health Care Service Corporation is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
About Healthy Kids, Healthy Families
Healthy Kids, Healthy Families is a three-year initiative designed to improve the health and wellness of at least one million children through community investments by Health Care Service Corporation and its Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The initiative will invest in and partner with nonprofit organizations that offer sustainable, measurable programs to reach children and their families in areas of nutrition education, physical activity, disease prevention and management, and supporting safe environments. To learn more about Healthy Kids, Healthy Families, please visit www.hcsc.com/healthy_kids_healthy_families.html.
About Love Is Respect
Love Is Respect helps teens and young adults, ages 13–24 navigate the spectrum of healthy relationship behaviors. From the program, young people learn there are options, answers and support available to them every hour of every day. Forming the national partnership to end dating abuse, Break the Cycle and the National Dating Abuse Helpline designed the new Love Is Respect specifically for young people, emphasizing confidentiality and trust to ensure teens and 20-somethings nationwide feel safe and supported — online and off. Find out more at www.loveisrespect.org .
Becky Kenny, 505-816-2012 or 505-999-8806, Becky_Kenny@bcbsnm.com