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Fees: Sliding Scale, Medicaid, Medicare, Private Insurance
FIRST: EARLY IDENTIFICATION AND TREATMENT OF SCHIZOPHRENIA SPECTRUM DISORDERS
What is a FIRST program?
FIRST programs provide comprehensive, team-based treatment aimed at improving the mental health and quality of life for individuals who have experienced a first episode of a schizophrenia spectrum disorder by promoting early identification and providing best treatment practices as soon as possible.
FIRST treatment includes psychiatric care, individual counseling, supported employment/education, family psychoeducation and case management that are all delivered in an integrated way by a six-person team based at a community mental health agency.
What are the benefits of FIRST treatment for clients, families and significant others?
• Decreased severity of the illness
• Less physical, mental, psychological, social and occupational disability
• Lower risk of relapse
• Fewer forensic complications
• Reduced family disruption and distress
• Reduced need for inpatient care
• Lower health care costs
FIRST Eligibility Criteria
While each person will be considered for FIRST treatment services on an individual basis, FIRST is most appropriate for individuals who:
• are between 15-40 years of age;
• are diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder or other specified/unspecified schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorder;
• have experienced no more than 18 months of psychotic symptoms (treated or untreated);
• are willing to consent to participate in at least two treatment modalities that include counseling, psychiatric care, supported employment/education, family psychoeducation and case management.
FIRST is not appropriate for individuals:
• with psychotic symptoms that are known to be caused by the temporary effects of substance abuse or another medical condition
• with an intellectual disability that impairs their ability to understand all of the treatment components
Individuals who do not meet the eligibility criteria for FIRST are referred to other treatment resources.
The FIRST program is a partnership in Cuyahoga County between Catholic Charities and Northeast Ohio Medical University’s BeST Center. The Best Practices in Schizophrenia Treatment (BeST) Center promotes recovery and works to improve the lives of people with schizophrenia.