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Catholic Charities Corporation Administrative Offices:

7911 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102

(216) 334-2900

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.

The goal of the FIRST program is to promote early identification and provide best treatment practices as soon as possible. For this reason, our program is open to Cuyahoga County residents ages 14 to 30 who have had psychotic symptoms for no more than 18 months, and have been diagnosed with one of the following:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Schizophreniform disorder or other specified/unspecified schizophrenia spectrum
  • Psychotic disorder
  • Bipolar I disorder with psychotic features
  • Bipolar II disorder with psychotic features


FIRST Cuyahoga County team members work together to provide treatment, information and support to clients and their families and significant others.

Clients must be willing to participate in at least two of the following treatment components:

  • Psychiatric care
  • Individual counseling
  • Supported employment/education
  • Family psychoeducation
  • Case management

All services are delivered in an integrated way by a six-person team based at a community mental health agency.


FIRST Cuyahoga County strives to:

  • Provide support and education for the individual and family
  • Improve recovery
  • Reduce the chances of relapse
  • Set goals for the future


Clients, families and significant others may all benefit from FIRST treatment. Some of the ways in which individuals may benefit include:

  • 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

Why Choose Catholic Charities?

As one of the largest comprehensive health and human services organizations in the region, Catholic Charities carries out Christ’s healing mission here in Northeast Ohio.

We provide help and create hope for all people. We value the dignity of every person regardless of religion, race, identity or beliefs. We believe in the transformative power of professional, competent, evidence-based behavioral health services.


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.


Payment options include Medicaid and certain insurances. If your insurance does not cover our services or if you do not have insurance, payment will be calculated based on your income using our sliding fee scale.

Learn More

If you or someone you know may be interested in our program, please use our online contact form to send us a message. You may call us at (216) 624-4326 to set up an appointment or for more information.

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Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Part of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

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