Nord Center FIRST Program Receives APA Award

Nord Center FIRST Program Receives APA Award

Since 1949, the Psychiatric Services Achievement Awards have recognized creative models of service delivery and innovative programs for people with mental illness or disabilities. The Nord Center is proud to announce that its First Episode Psychosis Program has been awarded this year’s American Psychiatric Association’s Silver Award. The FIRST Program of 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. 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).

The program is based on the idea that early intervention when someone is experiencing their first episode of psychosis can make a significant difference in the course of their treatment and their life. FIRST works with clients and families to help them continue on their life path, whether that be school or work, rather than be defined by or derailed by their diagnosis. This approach is thought to 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; and lower health costs.

Since its inception in 2016, Project Director Kathryn Maimone, LISW-S has been a driving force behind the program. “Kathryn and her team of professionals have been on the cutting edge of reducing barriers to care to people and families that are experiencing behavioral health issues and crises for the first time,” according to Don Schiffbauer, The Nord Center’s CEO.  Based on its success, The Nord Center has extended this approach to people with other early serious mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, bipolar with psychotic features, severe major depression, and depression with psychotic features.  For more information about the program visit

Established in 1947, The Nord Center is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit provider of community mental health and related support services headquartered in Lorain County. The Nord Center’s mission is: Engaging people in our community to achieve mental and emotional health through prevention, treatment and advocacy.



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