FIRST Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis

FIRST Family Psychoeducation

Research shows that psychoeducation, which includes learning about the illness, its treatment, coping strategies and developing the knowledge and skills to prevent a relapse, helps to enhance recovery and improve relationships. The FIRST program believes that support from family members and friends is vital to recovery. Psychoeducation is also available to family members and friends of individuals in FIRST.


  • to provide information about schizophrenia, treatment, substance use, strategies to cope with stress and the role of the family in recovery
  • to encourage family members and friends to be active members of the recovery
  • team and enlist family members and friends’ input and cooperation with the treatment plan
  • to provide hope for recovery
  • to support family members and friends
  • to discuss family and personal strengths, resiliency and goals
  • to help develop communication and problem-solving skills
    to help relatives assist the person in FIRST to monitor his or her symptoms and prevent relapses


  • introduction, assessment and initial goal setting
  • what is schizophrenia?
  • medication
  • coping with stress
  • problem-solving and decision-making
  • relapse prevention planning
  • collaborating with mental health professionals
  • family members’ guide to supporting recovery
  • basic facts about alcohol and drugs

Who participates in FIRST Family Psychoeducation sessions?

The FIRST team leader facilitates Family Psychoeducation sessions. The individual enrolled in FIRST is encouraged to participate in Family Psychoeducation sessions and to include anyone who is important to him or her, which could be blood relatives, significant others or friends.

If the individual in FIRST does not participate in Family Psychoeducation, his or her family and friends can still participate; however, specific information about the person in FIRST will not be discussed unless consent has been given.

When are FIRST Family Psychoeducation sessions held?

Family members determine how often and how many times they participate in Family Psychoeducation sessions. Ideally, sessions are held once a week or every other week for several months. Sessions can begin at any time.


BeST Center

BeST Practices in Schizophrenia Treatment (BeST) Center

NEOMED Coordinating Center of Excellence