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Jefferson County has new resource to help with mental health problems

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio — Hearing voices or having hallucinations can be frightening for teens and adults alike, and they may feel they have nowhere to turn.

But there's a new resource in Jefferson County to help.

A silver ribbon was cut on Thursday morning, as Coleman Professional Services, in partnership with the Best Center, introduced the FIRST program, located at 3200 Johnson road in Steubenville.

“There's a great need,” said Nelson Burns, president and CEO of Coleman Professional Services. “What happens is with young adults schizophrenia appears in a variety of different ways to them, but they do not share their experience with anybody because they're afraid, and quite frankly, it's understandable.”

The FIRST program is early intervention for those ages 15-40 who have had psychotic symptoms for no more than 18 months.

“We are looking to reach out to individuals who are experiencing their first episode, to help them get back to doing what they were planning with their life,” said Lisa Ward, chief officer, Coleman Professional Services.

A team including therapists, prescribers and employment specialists will be a part of the treatment, and ultimately, the individual’s success.

“Many teens become addicted to drugs in order to mask their experiences with schizophrenia,” Nelson said. “So this program really attacks that issue and provides a comprehensive program support that individual and their family.”

“This is program really reaches to stamp out that stigma,” Ward said. “And to show that with early intervention you can be productive in society, a productive community member.”

"First" is now enrolling and accepting referrals, and there’s a 24-hotline 740-457-6353.