Using storytelling to communicate health messages

Todd Vandenbark

Health literacy logoChoose your path: BFF or the Ex?” is the title of an interactive video designed to teach teens about the dangers of drug abuse. NIDA for Teens is a site created by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse aimed at giving teens the straight facts about drug abuse in all its forms: tobacco, steroids, ecstasy, inhalants, prescription drugs, marijuana and more. Watch the video, and at the end you are asked to choose between two options, which takes you to another video showing the consequences of your decision. Teens can even use an online tool to create their own video scenarios and messages.

Stories can be more powerful in communicating critical information than just presenting the facts. And as any parent of a teenager will tell you, teens will listen more to peers than parents. Using teen-created videos to communicate essential health messages is another great idea to promote this aspect of health literacy in young people.

Have you used videos or other forms of storytelling to teach young people about important health issues? Tell us about it!