People want to do what is right when it comes to public health measures like wearing a mask and not mixing with others. We’re just starting to get over what seems like an endless 18 months of lockdowns, COVID-19 saturated government messages and lockdowns. To reach pandemic fatigued people, government communications must be flexible to meet our evolving needs and emotions. This is how government messaging should change during this pandemic.
Pandemic Fatigue Is Real Public
Pandemic fatigue is a state where we lose motivation over time or become complacent in following COVID-19 public healthcare advice or seeking out information about it. It is already affecting certain groups, such as young men and health-care workers. Could be you, too. It is common for people to experience gradual exhaustion or inability to respond to government messages regarding public health. This is due to a complex interplay between factors including risk and control.
Perception Of Risk Public
The first reason someone follows COVID-19’s health advice is because they believe they will be infected. Despite the increasing incidence of the disease, people begin to think about the economic, personal and social consequences of restrictions that are more severe than the actual risk. Control. The second is the need to be in control of your own life. Certain groups may feel the need to be free.
Pandemic Fatigue Is A Concern
Pandemic fatigue is a problem because people are more likely to cut corners and put others at risk. Governments must recognize the danger of monotonous messaging that can make it easy for people switch off. They should acknowledge the obstacles that make it difficult or easy for people adopting protective behaviours.
As pandemic fatigue begins to set in, it is important that we see the light at the end. This can be done by the government by explaining how specific actions can impact overall outcomes. The public’s willingness to limit the crisis’ impact is likely to slip if it doesn’t foster hope. These are the four key messages that government needs to communicate to prevent pandemic fatigue
Understand People Public
The government must understand the population that is most vulnerable to pandemic fatigue. This includes people with lower education or those who work in health-care. Next, they will need to test and adapt new messages based on evidence with these target audiences. It is better to have lower quality messages that hit the right spot than many messages of lesser quality distributed widely.
As Part Of The Solution, Engage People Public
We know that one of the key drivers behind resistance to government health messages is the desire to be in control and to have autonomy. The government must encourage people to engage with them by reframe messages in a positive and hopeful way. Governments can encourage self-determination by engaging communities with personal stories and encouraging them to use collective words such as we and other two-way dialogs.
We found that Prime Minister Scott Morrison used empathetic language and limited personal stories in his communications during the first pandemic wave. Norway’s government recognized the community as an expert in their lives and engaged them to create solutions, such as flexible ways to reopen kindergartens.
Let People Live Their Lives, But Decrease Risk
The all or nothing approach for public health advice is becoming more daunting as the pandemic continues. This could alienate and demotivate people. Government messaging must move beyond do not, and instead do things differently, allowing us the freedom to include the things that we value in our new way to live.
This document acknowledges that people may want to hug other people and celebrate birthdays. It also explains how to minimize the risk. The Netherlands government provided guidance to people looking for intimacy during the pandemic. It advised people to find a cuddle buddy and not be intimate with multiple partners. This harm reduction approach recognizes that abstinence for many is not an option.
Recognize And Address The Hardships Of Others Public
Although lockdowns and other strict measures are essential to stop the spread of viruses, they have had a detrimental effect on the mental health of people around the world and affected daily life through the loss of security and jobs. The government should show empathy and offer hope by acknowledging this difficulty. They must also offer opportunities to alleviate the suffering of those whose lives are being put on hold.
Norway’s health minister was a shining example of this. He acknowledged the difficulties faced by young people and thanked them for their contributions to society. He also urged them to find safe solutions for university events. This seems to have had positive effects on Norway’s young people, who are more likely than Norwegians over 50 to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions.
Yes, It Is Difficult To Communicate In A Pandemic Public
There is no one-size fits all communication strategy during a crisis of this magnitude. A preliminary analysis of pandemic response plans around the globe revealed that many leaders struggled to find the right balance between communicating public health measures and the desire to return to normalcy. We also showed Morrison’s communications were dominated by economic and political actions by the end Australia’s first wave. Pandemic fatigue can be caused by repetition of the same old themes.
It’s now that government messaging needs to adjust and adapt to our fatigue level, taking into consideration ways in which current methods might actually be contributing levels of disengagement. People may ignore or deliberately disregard public health advice if governments fail to do so. This makes it more difficult to ever recover.