As public health marketers, our communication strategies must work to build healthier communities. Poor communication, however, can lead to skepticism and mistrust from the communities we are trying to serve.
Missing the Mark
While well-intentioned, some types of public health communication are not going to work. Placing blame or shaming individuals who do not follow health recommendations does not work. Conversely, it will only further alienate individuals and dissuade them from asking questions or seeking help.
Well-received public health messaging meets people where they are and answers their questions. Not everyone has the same educational and cultural background, and it is important to take these factors into account when developing messaging. Utilizing the help of local community leaders in the development process can further improve how the information is received.
Working with communities is imperative in developing effective public health communications. Placing blame on individuals will not change their behavior and should instead be met with patience and understanding. Effective public health communication is important in maintaining the health and wellness of our communities.