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FIRST Lorain County is a comprehensive, outpatient, team-based program aimed at improving the mental health and quality of life for individuals who have experienced a first episode of psychosis.

The symptoms of psychosis, which may include hallucinations, delusionsĀ or confused thinking, make it harder or impossible for a person to know what is real, to think clearly, to communicate, relate to others, and to feel emotions. However, in the early stages of psychosis, people often do not know what is happening to them and may not seek treatment right away. The most common cause of a first episode of psychosis in young adults is schizophrenia.

Symptoms of psychosis may include:

  • Hallucinations: Things you hear, see, smell, taste, or feel that no one else can hear, see, smell, taste, or feel. Hearing voices is the most common type of hallucination.
  • Delusions: False beliefs that seem real to your youth or young adult. People with delusions may believe that other people are spying on them or want to harm them or someone they care about.
  • Confused thinking: A change in the way a person thinks. Thoughts may be very fast or slow, they may stop suddenly, or the person might feel that the thoughts are outside their control. These thoughts might show up as disorganized speech, such as shifting rapidly from one topic to another.

Early identification and treatment of psychosis is important because it can lead to:

  • Preventing increasing 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 costs

Treatment services include psychiatric care, individual counseling, family psychoeducation, supported employment/education and case management. These services are provided in an integrated manner by a six-person team. While each person will be considered for FIRST treatment services on an individual basis, FIRST is most appropriate for individuals who have experienced no more than 18 months of psychotic symptoms (treated or untreated) and are:

  • 15-40 years of age
  • diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder or other specified/unspecified schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorder;
  • willing to consent to participate in at least two treatment modalities that include counseling, psychiatric care, supported employment/education, family psychoeducation and case management

To refer someone or learn more about FIRST Lorain County, contact our FIRST Team Leader by calling 440.204.4200.

FIRST Lorain County is a partnership between The Nord Center and the Best Practices in Schizophrenia Treatment (BeST) Center at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED).