Risk Communication

There are many ways to go about spreading information over a general area. Public Service Announcements, other forms of advertising, and word of mouth are sometimes the easiest way to share information; the problem with some of these can be that the information can sometimes be altered along the way or affected by biases. Risk communication, or RC, is one of the most effective ways to share information among a large population.

Risk Communication, according to the U.S. Public Health Service, can be defined as “an interactive process of exchange of information and opinion among individuals, groups, and institutions”. Although Risk Communication is usually very effective and helpful, it doesn’t always go as planned.

After Japan was hit with a terrible tsunami last March, the country was in a state of shock. When the news of a radiation leak was spread, the country was even more disrupted and the population was increasingly nervous. Some people, including the writer of this Scientific American piece, believed that the risk communication taking place after this news was released could have been better. Even though the country as a whole had been disturbed and many lives had been turned upside down, this writer thought more communication could have made the situation better. Risk communication is vital in many aspects of health safety, including medication that is treated for those with suicidal thoughts and depression.

When it comes to SSRI’s and other medication, some people are skeptical. Every medication can have it’s own risks and benefits depending on the person and what type of illness is being treated. In 2006, some medical professionals were concerned with the warning labels the FDA was sending out on SSRI’s. Although communication over these medications has changed over the years, the concern over different treatments is still evident today. The way in which these journals, doctors, and other medical professionals go about their research and sharing their wealth of knowledge can have a major impact on how the public responds to these different types of treatments.


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