A Story of Recovery & Hope

"A BeST Center-affiliated treatment team helped a college student to graduate with an associate’s degree – as the class valedictorian – and to get a "dream job" in his field of study by providing FIRST Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis when he returned to college following hospitalization."

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FIRST Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis

FIRST Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis programs are available throughout Ohio and are committed providing to the best treatment services for individuals experiencing an initial episode of psychotic illness and their families as early in the course of the illness as possible.

Early Warning Signs of Psychosis

Typically, a person will show changes in his or her behaviors before psychosis develops. The list below includes several warning signs of psychosis:

  • Worrisome drop in grades or job performance
  • New trouble thinking clearly or concentrating
  • Suspiciousness, paranoid ideas or uneasiness with others
  • Withdrawing socially, spending a lot more time alone than usual
  • Unusual, overly intense new ideas, strange feelings or having no feelings at all
  • Decline in self-care or personal hygiene
  • Difficulty telling reality from fantasy
  • Confused speech or trouble communicating


Any one of these items by itself may not be significant, but someone with several of the items on the list should consult a mental health professional. A qualified psychologist, a psychiatrist or a trained social worker will be able to make a diagnosis and help develop a treatment plan.

If you notice these changes in behavior and they begin to intensify or do not go away, it is important to seek help. Early treatment of psychosis increases the chance of a successful recovery.

(From RA1SE, Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode, a research project of the National Institute of Mental Health.)

The Treatment

As outpatient early identification and treatment of psychotic illness programs, FIRST programs are committed to:

  • rapid access to services;
  • helping people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders set and achieve goals for the future;
  • and involving loved ones in the recovery process.


FIRST treatment services are provided in an integrated manner by a six-person team and include:

  • psychiatric care
  • individual counseling
  • family education and support
  • supported employment/education
  • case management


Early outcomes for individuals participating in FIRST programs are promising: the majority of individuals in the FIRST programs are either working and/or pursuing educational goals full-time or part-time and the rates of re-hospitalization rate are low.

First Episode Psychosis Project ECHO

A tele-community for Ohio’s Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis team members and other interested Ohio clinicians. A public service offered by the Best Practice for Schizophrenia Treatment (BeST) Center and funded by the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services.

For the First Episode Psychosis Project ECHO curriculum, schedule and registration information, please visit this page.


To find information about Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis programs offered in community mental health agencies throughout Ohio communities, please visit


To find FIRST.IL Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis Programs in Illinois, please visit the Illinois Department of Human Services.

High-Risk for Psychosis

C-CAN is a collaborative effort to deliver treatment for Summit County, Ohio, individuals between the ages of 10-25 who may be experiencing warning signs for developing psychosis. C-CAN provides individual counseling, family education, case management, and employment and education support that is critical to achieving positive outcomes.

Funded by a $1.35 million grant awarded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration through the County of Summit Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services Board, the C-CAN initiative includes Child Guidance & Family Solutions, Community Support Services and the Best Practices in Schizophrenia Treatment (BeST) Center. For more information call the C-CAN Resource Line: 234.788.1646 or email


BeST Center

BeST Practices in Schizophrenia Treatment (BeST) Center

NEOMED Coordinating Center of Excellence