Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC)

Crisis Communication

The Psychology of a Crisis

Adapted from CDCynergy

Effective communication is a "resource multiplier" during a crisis, disaster, or emergency. For example, during a crisis you may find yourself overwhelmed with requests for information from the media and the public, managing misinformation, and conflicting messages being sent by other agencies. Use of effective communication techniques allows you to avoid resource over-utilization or misuse by managing or eliminating as many of these issues as possible.

Many of the expected negative individual and community behaviors can be mitigated with effective emergency and risk communication. Each crisis will carry its own psychological baggage. The practitioner must anticipate the mental stresses that the population will be experiencing and apply appropriate risk communication strategies to attempt to manage these stresses in the population. Risk communication is a fully legitimate tool of response and recovery, just like any other resource applied to a disaster. It is not an attempt at mass mental therapy. It is a reasoned and mature communication approach to the selection of message, messenger, and method of delivery for intended audiences. In this section, we will look at the different ways that people may react in an emergency or crisis.