PAR is proud to announce our 2012 “Capture the Connection” photography contest winners

PAR’s Customers clearly understand what “Creating Connections and Changing Lives” means—our 2012 “Capture the Connection” photography contest solicited 178 entries! Narrowing our choices to just three was a difficult task conducted by two professional photographers and our in-house marketing team.

The efforts and talent of all those who entered are greatly appreciated. The full gallery is available at http://www4.parinc.com/capture/Gallery.aspx.

And now, on to our winners!

1st_place

First Place
Aloha C. Romay, MS
Clinical Psychology
Paducah, KY

1st_place_photogWhen I think of the word “Connection,” I think of Family. Everything that we are and we will be begins at home. This photo to me describes how, even before we are born, we create a bond with those around us, those who love us unconditionally. A life that is about to begin has already changed the lives of those who have already started one.

Thank you PAR, Inc. for not only providing us therapists with the tools and resources we need to do our jobs more efficiently, but also for the amazing opportunity to be a part of this contest. For the latter one, I feel very grateful.

2nd_place

Second Place
Bonnie Voegeli, PsyD
School Psychologist
Brookfield, CT

2nd_place_photogMy sons had spent an afternoon last summer playing in the sprinkler and on their swing set. In an effort to get all three kids into one picture, I spontaneously hung my youngest from the chains and had each brother grab him around the waist. They were so surprised and they stayed this way just long enough for me to capture this shot.

As I considered the theme of “Creating Connections, Changing Lives” this photo instantly came to mind, for the obvious reason of my youngest connecting to his two older brothers. Beyond that, however, is the life-changing connection that occurs from growing up with siblings. The bonds that are formed from simple joys such as a sprinkler, a swing set, and a warm summer day are as life-changing as you can get!

When PAR called to tell me that my photo had won second place, it was three days after my hometown of Newtown, CT had been devastated by the horrific school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Needless to say, our community is heartbroken over the loss of our town’s babies, teachers, administrator, and a fellow school psychologist. The news from PAR was such a welcomed surprise, and I told PAR that it was the first time I had smiled in three days. Thank you, PAR!

3rd_place

Third Place
Terri Sisson
School Psychologist
Madison County, VA

3rd_place_photog

My name is Terri Sisson and I’m the one-and-only school psychologist in my small hometown, Madison County, Virginia. I love taking photos… and the photo session in Virginia Beach was no exception! This picture is one of my favorites because it is truly about “creating connections, changing lives.” Every year, my family goes camping in Virginia Beach with several families from our community. We spend lots of time at the beach, riding bikes, and bonding around the campfire. We are truly making connections and creating memories that I hope our children will cherish for a lifetime. I cannot express my excitement over the fact that my photo won the third-place prize. I am so happy that the judges saw the potential in a photo that is so near and dear to my heart. Thank you to PAR for this opportunity… What a wonderful Christmas present!

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Results of 2011 National Survey on Mental Health Released

brain_gearsAccording to the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, one in five adults in the United States suffered from a mental illness in 2011. This federal government report defined mental illness as a person having a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder, and included more than 65,000 Americans aged 12 and above.

The rate of mental illness was found to be twice as likely in the 18-to-25-year-old age group, close to 30 percent, than it is in those age 50 and above (about 14 percent). Furthermore, women were more likely to have suffered a mental illness than men (about 23 percent versus 16 percent).

Of the 45.6 million people with a mental illness, about 11.5 million reported a serious mental illness, about 5 percent of the adult population. About 38 percent of adults with a mental illness in 2011 received treatment during the year – and about 60 percent of those with a serious mental illness sought help during that time.

Youth also were studied, and it was found that 2 million adolescents between age 12 and 17 had a major depressive episode in 2011, about 8 percent of the population. Young people who had a major depressive epsidoe were more than twice as likely to use illicit drugs than those who did not (36 percent versus 17 percent).

Rates of mental illness remained stable from the prior year.

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New Assessment Tool for Forensic Psychologists Measures Understanding of Miranda Rights

sama_coverPAR is pleased to announce the release of the Standardized Assessment of Miranda Abilities™ (SAMA™).The SAMA is designed to help forensic psychologists evaluate a defendant’s understanding of his or her Miranda rights.

Since the watershed decision of Miranda v. Arizona in 1966, the Supreme Court has continued to define what is legally required for Miranda warnings and waivers. Today, Miranda warnings are required to address five issues:

  • the right to silence;
  • the risk of waiving the right to silence;
  • the right to counsel;
  • the availability of counsel for indigent defendants; and
  • the option to reassert these rights at any time.

In addition, any waiver of Miranda rights must be made voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently.

Developed by Richard Rogers, PhD, ABPP, one of the leading experts on Miranda law in the U.S, the SAMA includes five measures that assess vocabulary and comprehension of the wording typically used in Miranda warnings as well as the knowledge, beliefs, misconceptions, and reasoning skills that may affect an individual’s choice to exercise or waive his or her rights. Highly valid and reliable, the SAMA provides a clear picture of a defendant’s thinking in regard to Miranda decision-making.

To learn more about the SAMA or any of PAR’s other forensic/legal products, visit www.parinc.com or call 1.800.331.8378.

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As Old as You Feel: Attitudes About Aging Affect the Health of Older Adults

agingA new study suggests that people who hold positive attitudes about aging are 44% more likely to recover from a serious disability than those who view aging in a more negative way. The study, led by Becca R. Levy, PhD, director of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Division at the Yale School of Public Health, is described in a research letter in the November 21 Journal of the American Medical Association.

Over a 10-year period, Levy and her colleagues studied a group of 598 individuals who participated in a health plan in greater New Haven, Connecticut. All participants were at least 70 years old and free of disability at the start of the study, and all experienced at least one month of disability from active daily life during the follow-up period.

To measure the participants’ attitudes about aging, researchers interviewed them monthly and asked them to complete written assessments every 18 months during the course of the study. In these assessments, participants were asked for five terms or phrases they associated with older people. Their words were rated on a 5-point scale, with 1 being most negative (e.g., decrepit) and 5 being most positive (e.g., spry).

Although the disabilities experienced by the participants varied, the study defined recovery based on the ability to perform four activities of daily living: bathing, dressing, moving from a chair, and walking. These abilities are associated with longer life expectancy and less frequent use of health care facilities.

“This result suggests that how the old view their aging process could have an effect on how they experience it,” said Levy in a November 26 news story on the Yale School of Public Health Web site. “In previous studies, we have found that older individuals with positive age stereotypes tend to show lower cardiovascular response to stress and they tend to engage in healthier activities, which may help to explain our current findings.”

This research suggests that the next step may be interventions that encourage older people to think about aging in a more positive light. According to the authors, “Further research is needed to determine whether interventions to promote positive age stereotypes could extend independent living in later life.”

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