IDHS 4214 First.IL Brochure

State of Illinois

Department of Human Services


Department of Human Services/Division of Mental Health

You or someone you know may be:

  • Having serious problems at work or school
  • Seeing or hearing things that others do not see or hear
  • Having fixed beliefs not shared by others
  • Withdrawing from social interactions
  • Speaking or thinking in a disorganized way
  • Feeling paranoid

These are all signs that someone may be at risk for a psychotic illness.

Advocate FIRST can help: 773-892-8135

If you or someone you know is experiencing psychotic symptoms, please seek professional help as soon as possible.

FIRST.IL is a specialized treatment program that helps individuals who are between the ages of 14 to 40 and who:

Have had a treated or untreated psychotic illness for no more than 18 months (eligible diagnoses are schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia form disorder or other specified/unspecified schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorder, bipolar disorder with psychotic features, major depressive disorder with psychotic features and PTSD).

FIRST.IL Program Goals

  • To provide support and education for the individual and family
  • To improve recovery
  • To reduce the chances of relapse
  • To set goals for the future

FIRST.IL Treatment Components

In addition to the above, clients must also be willing to participate in at least two treatment components: individual counseling, psychiatric care, supported employment/education, family psychoeducation or recovery support.


  • Helps with goal setting
  • Educates individuals about their illness
  • Develops the ability to bounce back
  • Deals with stigma and negative feelings
  • Copes with symptoms
  • Prevents a relapse of symptoms
  • Discusses substance use
  • Educates about a healthy lifestyle
  • Helps to maintain and develop relationships
  • Helps client to relax and have fun

Psychiatric Care

  • Psychiatric evaluation
  • Medication management of symptoms
  • Shared decision-making
  • Safest and most effective medications available

Supported Employment/Education

  • Rapid placement in the workforce
  • Assistance with educational goals
  • On-the-job follow along services
  • Advocacy

Family Psychoeducation

  • Teaches family members/supporters about symptoms
  • Improves communication & problem solving
  • Builds support and understanding within the family

Recovery Support

  • Assistance in gaining greater independence
  • Linking to community resources
  • Help navigating systems
  • Help accessing and acquiring services
  • Assistance with educational goals
  • Early treatment is very important. Research suggests that the sooner treatment of a psychotic illness begins, the better the chances of a faster and more complete recovery.
  • With treatment, people with psychotic illness can and do get better!
  • "As I often say, in my more than 40 years with schizophrenia, there's never been a better time to be a person with a serious mental illness. There is more hope now than ever before."
  • Frederick J. Frese, Ph.D. NEOMED
  • Associate Professor of Psychiatry Coordinator, Recovery Project
  • The FIRST.IL team members work together to provide treatment, information, and support to clients, their families and significant others.
  • FIRST.IL is a comprehensive treatment program for individuals who have had a first episode of a psychotic illness.
  • For more information on Mental Health Treatment or Services:
  • Advocate Behavioral Health Services
  • 913 W Wellington Ave
  • Chicago, IL 60657 773-892-8135
  • /immc/healthservices /behavioral-health-care/
  • Portage Cragin Counseling Center 4840 W Byron St, Chicago, IL 60641 833-610-5774

  • Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs.
  • IDHS 4214 (R-09-21) First.IL Brochure
  • Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois.  0 copies