The Pittsburgh Mercy Communications Department is available to assist members of the news media with stories of local, regional, national, and international interest.
Whether you’d like to interview a subject matter expert on behavioral health, intellectual disabilities, addiction, homelessness, or healthy communities, we’re here to help. We know you have deadlines to meet. We respond to media requests in the order in which they are received and according to deadline.
Our office is staffed from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. We look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Ross
Director of Communications
For community relations, advocacy, and community sponsorship requests, please contact:
William Connolly, MS, MAHCM
Other Ways To Engage
- Browse our recent media coverage.
- Follow us on social media.
- Read our news releases.
- Subscribe to our media distribution list*.
- Give in support of our mission.
*For members of the news media and our community partners.
Our Communications Philosophy
Pittsburgh Mercy is committed to timely, open, honest, and transparent communication.
Our first priority is always the safety and privacy of persons we serve, their families, and our colleagues. Federal privacy guidelines under the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), state laws, and other confidentiality rules may limit the amount of information that we’re able to release regarding persons we serve. We do not release any information about any person we serve without the expressed written consent in writing from the individual or, in the case of minors, a parent or legal guardian.
Even with the person’s expressed written consent, the release of information may be limited to the information permitted by law, Pittsburgh Mercy policies, and/or the person.
Consistent with our core values, we strive to refer to those we serve as “persons,” “people,” and “individuals” instead of as “patients,” “clients,” or “consumers.” After all, they – and we – are people, first and foremost.
In reporting stories about persons we serve, we encourage others, including our colleagues in the media, to use person-centered language (also known as person-first language). Person-centered language shows reverence and respect for the person and treats the individual as a person first, not as a medical diagnosis or a social circumstance.
Words matter. The very words we choose have meaning. They reflect our knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and biases. Words can be helpful or hurtful. Biased and hurtful words, attitudes, and behaviors promote stigma. That stigma can keep people from seeking help and can stand in the way of recovery.
Person-centered language is respectful, strengths-based, recovery-oriented, and factual. It does not judge, label, shame, or stigmatize.
Examples of person-centered language:
- Use “persons with mental health disorders” instead of “the mentally ill.”
- Use “he has a substance use disorder” instead of “he’s an alcoholic,” “he’s a substance abuser,” “he’s a drug abuser,” “he’s an addict,” “he’s a user,” “he’s an abuser,” “he’s a drunk,” or “he’s a junkie.”
- Use “substance use disorder” or “addiction” instead of “drug habit.”
- Use “risky,” “unhealthy,” or “heavy use” instead of “problem.”
- Use “misuse” or “use” instead of “abuse.”
- Use “person in recovery,” abstinent,” or “not drinking”/”not taking drugs” instead of “clean.”
- Use “medication for addiction treatment” instead of “medication-assisted treatment.”
- Use “treatment” or “medication for addiction” instead of “substitution” or “replacement therapy.”
- Use “positive” or “negative toxicology screen” instead of “clean” or “dirty.”
- Use “people with disabilities” instead of “the disabled” or “the handicapped.”
- Use “she has a bipolar disorder” instead of “she’s bipolar.”
- Use “she has autism” instead of “she’s autistic.”
- Use “he’s experiencing homelessness” instead of “the homeless man.”
When in doubt, ask the person how they would like you to refer to them.
Page updated: April 26, 2023