First Step is a not-for-profit mental health, addiction and legal services hub in St Kilda, Melbourne.  For 20 years we have provided free services to thousands of vulnerable Victorians every year, with the firm believe that everybody deserves every chance to turn their lives around.  First Step provides a uniquely multi-disciplinary team with GPs, psychologists, psychiatrist, lawyers, mental health nurses, care coordinators, counsellors, men’s and women’s groups all at one site.  When someone comes to First Step they discover all the clinical and non-clinical services they need, on one site, delivered by one team. 

First Step supports more people on opiate replacement therapies (such as methadone) than any other clinic in Victoria.  Many of these people we support are living stable lives, connected with family, working/studying/raising kids.  AT the same time, the combined and varied expertise of our team means that we are able to work with the most complex clients, those most at risk of hospitalisation for their mental health, imprisonment, homelessness or worse.  At First Step we believe that chronic addiction is generally a long-term, painful adaptation to childhood abuse and neglect, and that timely and effective treatment is a matter of social justice that benefits all of society.   We work to keep people connected to their families, participating in society and taking control of their own lives.

As governments, health experts and others increasingly advocate for multidisciplinary 'hubs' First Step stands proudly as the pioneer mental health & addiction hub in Australia.

All services are delivered free of charge.

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9am until 5pm 


Our Approach

Client Care

First Step Approach – Client Care Client care at First Step involves a fundamental focus on the well-being of clients read more...


First Step defines collaboration as bringing professional view-points from different areas of expertise together to better achieve a desired outcome read more...


First Step Approach – Integration Integration in the context of First Step refers to our commitment to ensure that each read more...


We’re a friendly bunch. Call us 03 9537 3177 or send us a message with a question or enquiry and we’ll get in touch.

Patrick Lawrence

CEO, First Step

9537 3177

FB: @thefirststepprogram

For 20 years First Step has worked tirelessly to develop a treatment model for our clients that recognises and effectively responds to the complexity of combined mental health and addiction issues.

Now the treatment model we use is increasingly being recognised as the 'gold standard' in the treatment. 

For First Step this model was simply a response to the needs of our clients and we are exceptionally grateful for the philanthropic and charitable support (each of you!) that afforded us the freedom to develop and refine the system & philosophy that we use today. 

As you read this page, we would like to thank you for your generosity in supporting First Step.   You can be sure that the monies you donate will go directly to benefit the more than 2600 highly vulnerable people that we support each year.  In doing so you are immeasurably changing lives for the better.

Patrick Lawrence, CEO

From our Patron Rev. Tim Costello

My involvement with First Step began with the establishment of the clinic in July 2000, as one of the clinic’s founding directors. First Step was created to meet a need for low-cost, effective treatment options, primarily for people using heroin that would assist them to overcome their drug dependence. One person’s drug use can have an extraordinary ripple effect that takes in their immediate family, friends and the broader community.

First Step aims to provide the necessary support and treatment options, accessible to all, that enable those seeking the clinic’s assistance to live a life in all its fullness. In addition to a fervent belief in maintaining affordability. First Step is committed to treating people with the respect and compassion they deserve and working with them in engaging as fulfilled members of the community.