firsthand Guide

Detroit, MI
Community team - Detroit /
Full Time /
firsthand is changing the way individuals living with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) get care – by putting them at the center of everything we do. Our peer led model aims to build trust with these individuals, many of whom have been underserved, stigmatized, deprioritized and have very often lost trust in the systems intended to serve them. Our holistic approach includes partnering with our team of peer recovery specialists, licensed social workers and nurse practitioners, and focuses on meeting them where they are and walking with them side by side, as a trusted guide, partner, and first call, on their journeys’ to wellness. 

Our aim is to not only improve lives, but also improve the economics for managed care plans and states responsible for providing care to this community. This enables us to build solutions that scale and, as a result, change the way our society supports those most impacted by SMI.

We are building a team of deeply passionate problem-solvers who are courageous enough to take on one of the country’s most challenging healthcare problems. Those who are up for the task will be rewarded with deeply mission-oriented workdays, mentorship from a similarly motivated team, and a  supportive culture that prioritizes learning, creativity, and fun.

We named our company firsthand because we believe that lived, or “first-hand,” experience is incredibly valuable to gain trust and build relationships. The firsthand Guide is a critical role in our peer-led model, responsible for outreach and engagement of individuals living with serious mental illness to achieve and maintain behavioral and physical health and wellness. Trust is an essential element in successfully engaging people who have withdrawn from, or never received, services and supports that can improve their quality of life.

Focusing on support and services that promote whole health and reinforce autonomy, the firsthand Guide will help empower individuals to participate in their own care. firsthand Guides are empathetic, supportive, and highly trained and experienced individuals with first-hand knowledge of living with a psychiatric and/or substance use disorder, and are familiar with the intricacies of navigating a complex system of healthcare. 

The firsthand guide assists other members of the firsthand Care Team such as the Health Guide (e.g. Nurse Practitioner) in addressing the individual’s health needs (not including diagnosis or choosing a specific treatment plan), and the Community Resources Guide in meeting SDOH needs and with disability applications.

As firsthand Guide, you will:

    • Perform community outreach to individuals with serious mental illness, including visiting their homes and other locations within the local community where they spend time, such as clubhouses, drop-in centers, homeless shelters, hospitals, and emergency departments. 
    • Build trust and develop relationships with individuals living with SMI, by first identifying and addressing immediate needs.
    • Empower individuals to identify and pursue their personal recovery goals. 
    • Model and teach safe and healthy coping strategies.
    • Serve as primary point-of-contact for individuals, facilitating ongoing engagement. 
    • Apply advanced engagement techniques; on-the-job training will be provided as needed.
    • Partner with individuals to facilitate engagement in supportive services to help meet self-directed wellness goals.
    • Identify social determinants of health factors that may be able to be addressed by firsthand.
    • Facilitate warm hand-offs to other team members for assistance in navigating benefits and resources.
    • Assist with gathering information required for obtaining benefits and services.
    • Address transportation barriers by assisting in accessing transportation benefits, navigating public transportation, and providing transportation as needed. 
    • Engage in care coordination to assist individuals in accessing appropriate mental and physical health services, and advocate for the individual’s personal goals with providers. Provide support via activities such as accompanying the individual to appointments.
    • Address immediate follow-up needs identified by care team providers such as hospital post-discharge follow-up and support.
    • Build trust and develop relationships with individuals living with SMI
    • Identify and address immediate needs
    • Participate in case review and collaboration within the firsthand care team. 
    • Provide timely documentation of encounters with individuals and providers. 
    • Perform initial and ongoing telephonic outreach.
    • Provide coverage for after-hours calls on a rotating schedule. 
    • Participation in ongoing development training sessions
    • Assist with the coordination of health needs such as scheduling HG appointments, taking vitals, and helping individuals sign on to telehealth services.

You will be a good fit if you have:

    • Empathy, compassion, and approachability 
    • Excellent listening, communication, and interpersonal skills
    • Personal knowledge of recovery
    • Patience and persistence
    • Desire to help people in need and support their path to wellness
    • Comfort working as part of a multidisciplinary team
    • Basic computer skills

The required experience you bring to this role includes:

    • Lived experience with SMI and/or SUD
    • Qualified as a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist OR eligible and willing to get certified within 6 months of employment
    • Ability to operate a vehicle (company vehicle may be provided), including a driver’s license that is active and in good standing; must be eligible to drive under Company insurance policy 

The preferred experience you bring to this role includes:

    • Prior experience performing direct in-person outreach and engaging individuals with SMI
    • Expertise in recovery education and coaching
    • Knowledge of a whole health approach to peer support
    • Knowledge of a trauma-informed approach to peer support
    • Knowledge of local community resources, behavioral health system, and criminal justice system, including mental health and drug courts
    • Desire to learn more about a broad range of health conditions
$18 - $18 an hour
This is a full-time, non-exempt, hourly position reporting to firsthand's Vice President, Operations. firsthand cares deeply about ensuring pay equity with every team member who joins. Commensurate on candidate experience, the expected hourly rate for this role is $18/hr.
firsthand Benefits:

For Full Time employees, our compensation package includes base, equity and a bonus potential. Our benefits include physical and mental health, dental, vision, 401(k) with a match, 16 weeks parental leave for either parent, flexible vacation, and a supportive culture.

We firmly believe that great candidates for this role may not meet 100% of the criteria listed in this posting. We encourage you to apply anyway - we look forward to getting to know you.

Unfortunately, we are not able to offer sponsorship at this time.