2014AD_WebBadge_200x200May 8, 2014 is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), PAR is proud to be a supporter of this national event. National launch activities will be held during the National Council for Behavioral Health annual conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center near Washington, DC. Registration for the Awareness Day general session and the “What Really Works for Young Adults: A Candid Conversation” workshop is free. Even if you are not going to be in Washington, DC for the event, you can show your support during one of the many local events taking place throughout the country that promote the importance of caring for every child’s mental health. You can also tune into the live Webcast of the national launch event on May 6 from 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. EDT. Awareness Day focuses on positive mental health and its important relationship to a child’s healthy development. More than 1,100 communities and 136 national organizations are collaborating to make this year’s event bigger and better than ever.
When it comes to finding the right candidates for a job, what qualities and skills are most important to today’s employers? The answers may surprise you. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), teamwork, problem solving, organizational skills, and effective communication all rated more highly than “technical knowledge related to the job” (Job Outlook 2014). NACE collected the survey data from 208 college recruiting professionals during the summer of 2013. Respondents rated each quality/skill on a five-point scale. “Ability to work in a team structure” had an average weighted rating of 4.55. Less highly rated—but still important—qualities included “ability to obtain and process information,” “ability to analyze quantitative data,” and “ability to sell or influence others.” How can employers evaluate a potential employee’s skills in areas that seem so subjective? Other than word-of-mouth recommendations, how can employers assess whether a candidate is a team player, an analytical thinker, or an influential leader? The new Working Styles Assessment™ (WSA™) from PAR measures 18 distinct workplace personality constructs (or “working styles”) such as initiative, concern for others, analytical thinking, and conscientiousness. The WSA helps job seekers gain a better understanding of their personal work preferences and how they approach a variety of situations in the workplace; it also helps hiring managers identify the working styles they value in employees and select applicants based on the degree to which they fit the working styles most needed for a particular position. To learn more about the WSA and how it can help employers and job seekers to find the right match, visit the PAR Web site today!
According to a just-released statistical brief from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, mental disorders were the most costly medical expenditure for those under 18 years of age during 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available. More than 5.6 million children were treated for mental disorders at a mean expenditure of $2,465 each, for a total expense of $13.8 billion. In 2011, $117.6 billion was spent overall on the medical care and treatment of children. The top five medical conditions that ranked highest in terms of spending included mental disorders, asthma ($11.9 billion), trauma-related disorders ($5.8 billion), acute bronchitis and upper respiratory infections ($3.3 billion), and otitis media ($3.2 billion). Although mental disorders affected the fewest number of children of the other top five medical conditions, they had the highest average expense per child. In 2008, mental disorders ranked as the fifth most commonly treated condition; according to survey data, the expense per child has remained steady. Nearly half the expenditures for mental disorders in children were paid by Medicaid.
Last week, PAR took home two titles that we are especially proud to share. On March 29,  PAR staff and our favorite furry friends turned a rainy day into a walk to remember to support the Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s Bark in the Park event. Although the walk ended up being rained out just after our team picture, the PARty Animals were thrilled to take home top fundraising honors while showing our support for such a worthy organization. Also, for the fourth consecutive year, PAR has received the Gold Achievement Award from the American Heart Association for promoting employee wellness, making PAR a Fit-Friendly Worksite. We are proud to promote the importance of healthy living and wellness in the workplace! To learn more about the many ways PAR staff give back to the community, visit our Community PARtners page.
The PAR blog now has a sleek, modern look that’s not only attractive but easy to read and navigate, as well.  Updated weekly, our blog is a great forum to catch up on news about psychology and assessment, find links to new research studies, sign up for a Webinar, meet our authors, learn about a conference, or even watch a video about a new product or service. We know that a lot of you are reading the blog, and now we’d like to take this opportunity to invite you to become an active participant. At the top of each post, just below the headline, there is a “Leave a comment” button. Interested in the topic or have something to add? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment—or respond to a colleague’s comment. Looking for a blog on a particular topic? Skim recent blogs, browse previous issues by category or date, or search the “tag cloud” on the righthand side of the page—just click on a word in the cloud to find posts related to that key word. If you’ve arrived at our blog through an existing bookmark, be sure to go to the new site (http://blog.parinc.com) and update your bookmark so that you can see our updated look and access the new features. We hope you find our blog useful and you like our new look.  And as always…we want to hear from you, so leave a comment and join the conversation!