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This style guide is intended to help Austin Travis County Integral Care’s (Integral Care) employees ensure consistency in information created and distributed by Integral Care. The following is an overview of our guidelines. For more information, email email@example.com.
In general, Integral Care’s writing style follows The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, usually called the AP Stylebook, a style and usage guide used by newspapers and in the national news industry. The book is updated annually by Associated Press editors, usually in June. Reporters, editors and others use the AP Stylebook as a guide for grammar, punctuation and principles and practices of reporting. The AP Stylebook is considered an industry standard and is also used by broadcasters, magazines and public relations firms. It includes an A-to-Z listing of guides to capitalization, abbreviation, spelling, numerals and usage.
Below are answers to a few frequently asked style questions, including a few instances where we may differ from the AP Stylebook. For specific questions on style, punctuation and other editorial marks, please refer to the AP Stylebook. AP style provides consistent guidelines for publications in terms of grammar, spelling, punctuation and language usage. AP style also aims to avoid stereotypes and unintentionally offensive language. Click here to read “Language Matters in Mental Health,” produced by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.
Note: Please refer to Integral Care’s Brand Standards for instructions on using Integral Care’s logos, taglines and colors.
The legal name of our agency remains Austin-Travis County Mental Health Mental Retardation Center. We do business as (DBA) Austin Travis County Integral Care. Each word is capitalized.
Most often, Austin Travis County Integral Care is the name to use, when referencing the agency, in publications or other methods of communication while the legal name should be reserved for legal purposes (contracts, grants, etc.). If you are unsure which name to use, please contact the communications department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Approved abbreviations for Austin Travis County Integral Care include:
a. Acronym form, ATCIC,
b. Shortened version, Integral Care
Never use the name in any other capacity, or use punctuation (hyphens, slashes, etc.) within the name. Do not use MHMR, the MHMR Center, Center or any other variation of our legal name. If the legal name needs to be used, use it in its entirety.
Personal, professional and other titles:
These are capitalized when used before a name (Integral Care Chief Executive Officer David Evans). Titles when used alone or after a name (David Evans, chief executive officer of Integral Care) are lowercased.
Congress (the noun) is capped; congressional (the adjective) is not; similarly: the President, presidential.
The Senate and the House of Representatives are capped.
Senator Smith is capped; the senator is not.
Similarly: Representative Jones; the representative. (Note that Representative is the correct title for a member of the House; not Congressman or Congresswoman.)
Both senators and representatives are members of Congress.
The Administration is capped; the Clinton administration is down.
Use caps with proper nouns, names of races, nationalities and religions, but put descriptive adjectives in lower case (white, black). Standard: Only identify race when it is essential to the story.
Names of departments:
Capitalize formal names of departments of Integral Care, but use the informal names whenever possible:
Integral Care Accounts Billing Department (informal: billing department)
Integral Care Child and Family Services (informal: child and family services)
Use department when referencing any service area within the agency. Example: accounting department, MIS department, etc.
Use unit only when referencing accounting/billing matters, and include the unit number for reference. Example: Unit 139 budget for printing…
For more information on department names, see section labeled “Other Things to Remember.”
In general, when in doubt, leave it lower case; the trend is toward less capitalization.
Spell out numbers one to nine; from 10 and up, use numerals. Use figures for 10th and above when describing order in time or location. Examples: Second base, 10th in a row.
Some ordinal numbers, such as those indicating political or geographic order, should use figures in all cases. Examples: 3rd District Court, 9th ward.
Spell out percent; the % symbol is only used in technical documents, charts, etc. Always use a comma in numbers beginning with 1,000 (not 1000).
Exceptions: always use numerals with percentages (3 percent) or in monetary numbers ($3 million).
When referring to money, use numerals. For cents or amounts of $1 million or more, spell the words cents, million, billion, trillion etc. Examples: $26.52, $100,200, $8 million, 6 cents.
For dates and years, use figures. Do not use st, nd, rd, or th with dates. Always capitalize months. Spell out the month unless it is used with a date. When used with a date, abbreviate only the following months: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec.
Example: January 1, 2000.
January 2000 (no comma).
The 1990s (no apostrophe) or the ‘90s (with an apostrophe when shortened)
Capitalize days of the week, but do not abbreviate. If an event occurs more than seven days before or after the current date, use the month and a figure.
Commas In a simple series, AP doesn't use a comma before the last item. For a series of complex terms, though, use commas after each for clarity. Example: In art class, they learned that red, yellow and blue are primary colors. His brothers are Tom, Joe, Frank and Pete.
Quotation Marks Commas and periods go within quotation marks. Example: “I learned from my case manager,” he said. She said, “Let’s go to the community forum.”
Use quotation marks around the titles of books, songs, television shows, computer games, poems, lectures, speeches and works of art. Examples: Author Porter Shreve read from his new book, “When the White House Was Ours.” They sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the game.
Spacing Use a single space after a period.
Hyphens AP style says not to hyphenate email (changed from e-mail), but other e- words are hyphenated: e-commerce and e-book.
Our amended style is website (one word, lowercase w), along with other compounds: webcam, webcast, webmaster. The Web is capitalized as a short form of World Wide Web, as are Web page, Web feed.
Remember: Do not underline or italicize any of the above.
At Integral Care, we refer to individuals served as “consumers.” When appropriate, “client” may be used for legal purposes.
Departments should be referenced as:
For accounting/billing purposes only, refer to these areas as units and provide the unit number.
Behavioral Health versus Mental Health
“Behavioral health” includes substance abuse diagnoses; ‘mental health’ does not. Please use these terms as most appropriate based on these guidelines
When referencing our Crisis Hotline, use 472-HELP (4357)
When describing a program, service or other acronym, spell out the acronym first, and then put the acronym in parentheses to reference again in the article. Example: Veterans returning from war often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Treatment for PTSD is available at Integral Care.
Exception: If the phrase is only going to be used once, there is no need to put its acronym. Example: Veterans returning from war often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other mental health issues. Integral care offers a variety of services to support these needs.
Always check with the Communications Department before distributing any information/materials regarding Integral Care by emailing email@example.com. For assistance with publications, please submit an Administrative Service Request.