Research shows that Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis promotes a faster, more complete recovery. Many people who show early signs of a psychotic illness delay seeking treatment. They can benefit from clinicians and loved ones who understand the signs of schizophrenia and encourage them to seek FIRST treatment as soon as possible.


Early Identification and Treatment helps to…

  • Prevent increasing severity of the illness
  • Lessen physical, mental, psychological, social and occupational disability
  • Lower risk of relapse
  • Minimize forensic complications
  • Reduce family disruption and distress
  • Reduce need for inpatient care
  • Lower health costs

What is FIRST

Many individuals with schizophrenia suffer needlessly, waiting months or even years, before being diagnosed and treated.

What is FIRST Details

Many individuals with schizophrenia suffer needlessly, waiting months or even years, before being diagnosed and treated. It is critical to provide intensive intervention as soon as possible following a first episode of schizophrenia.

The FIRST program is a collaboration between the Best Evidence in Schizophrenia Treatment (BeST) Center at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), CG&FS and Community Support Services Inc. It is a comprehensive treatment program for individuals who have had an initial episode of a schizophrenia spectrum disorder and reside in or near Summit County.

A team of mental health professionals offers treatments including medication management, individual resiliency training, education, and case management.

Program goals include: 

  • Improving individual and family functioning 
  • Reducing the chance of relapse 
  • Improving the long-term course of the illness 
  • Decreasing the overall cost of treatment on the mental health system 

FIRST programs focus on helping people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders improve their recovery and resiliency, reduce relapse rates and set and achieve goals for the future.

FIRST treatment services include psychiatric care, individual counseling, family psychoeducation, supported employment/education and case management that are provided in an integrated manner by a six-person team.

How to Get Help

The BeST Center, CG&FS and Community Support Services Inc., have partnered to offer FIRST for individuals who reside in or near Summit County.

How to Get Help Details

The BeST Center, CG&FS and Community Support Services Inc., both Summit County, Ohio, agencies, have partnered to offer FIRST for individuals who reside in or near Summit County. 

FIRST Summit County treatment services are based at Child Guidance & Family Solutions, 18 North Forge St. in Akron, Ohio. FIRST can provide immediate, state-of-the-art, sustained help. To learn more, please contact FIRST Summit County at 234-788-1646 or

FIRST Eligibility Criteria

FIRST treatment is most appropriate for people that exhibit the following symptoms.

FIRST Eligibility Criteria Details

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.

Other Considerations
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 eligibility criteria for FIRST are referred to other treatment resources.

Contact Us

FIRST Summit County Coordinator
Crisis Text Line: Text 4HOPE to 741741

Next Steps

Quality & Compliance

If you have a concern about patient care or quality of care, we would like to hear from you.

Any concerns about patient safety and quality of care can be directed either to the CGFS Director of Quality & Compliance, Dr. Timothy Bartlett, at 330-762-0591, or to our accrediting body, The Joint Commission. There are three ways to contact The Joint Commission:

  • At, use the “Report a Patient Safety Event” link in the “Action Center” on the home page of the website
  • By fax to 330-792-5636
  • By mail to Office of Quality and Patient Safety, The Joint Commission, One Renaissance Boulevard, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

Services Brochure

To learn more about CG&FS and our servces and programs, please download our agency brochure.