The spirit of working together to achieve great outcomes runs deep at First Step. As individuals, as clinics and as a society we can achieve so much more if we work together. 

First Step’s collaborative work falls into two categories: internal and external. 

Internal Collaboration is key to the relationship between clients/patients and their clinical and/or legal team at First Step.

Team care planning

The GP is usual at the heart of team care for people who come to First Step. They work with their patients to develop a care plan to coordinate First Step’s clinical team in order to help the patient achieve their goals.

In-house case conferencing

One of the unique things about First Step is that the amazingly diverse clinical team is constantly communicating formally (through case conferences) and informally because we are all here in the one building.

Care coordination

First Step has a team of care coordinators who are able to work with you to implement that goals of your Team Care Plan and/or Mental Health Plan. This is similar to case management, but with an emphasis on collaboration between clinicians.

External collaboration

First Step has developed many collaborative partnerships over the years with leading clinical and non-clinical organisations to achieve the best results for the people we work with. Collaboration can involve:

  • Team Care: collaborative care of patients between First Step and other organisations (eg. Utilising the psychiatry team at the Alfred Hospital)
  • First Step clinicians providing expertise and services to other organisations (eg. Our doctors attending clients at Windana Drug and Alcohol Recovery)
  • Clinicians from other organisations attending First Step (eg. Gastroenterologists from St Vincent’s Hospital)
  • Sharing expertise and customised database tools (eg. With St Vincent’s Hospital) to maximise best practise care across Melbourne

First Step also collaborates with the corporate and philanthropic sectors to ensure its own financial future, and to enable our supporters to contribute to immediate meaningful outcomes as well as lasting change.  Philanthropic trusts are involved in First Step Legal, our brand new Case Management and Wellbeing program, capacity building (including marketing), general financial support, crisis (Myki top up, vouchers), clinical data managements and other aspects.  View our supporters page here.

In 2018 we need financial and logistical support to:

  • Enable the full, wrap-around service to be available to a higher percentage of our clients
  • develop, launch and maintain Mental Health Boot Camp
  • extend Workforce Wellbeing to a broader audience
  • Facilitate a 'St Kilda and surrounds' practitioners forum and consumers forum (for people with a lived experience)
  • Increase financial security and longevity
  • Advance innovative addiction medicine by being a site for clinical trials (naltrexone implants, long-lasting buprenorphine depot injections, lysdexamphetamine treatment for ice addiction)


To contact First Step to discuss clinical or philanthropic partnerships email

First Step also works with local organisations in St Kilda and surrounds to help the community health sector plan and execute collaboratively, and to organise community events such as the World’s Largest Overdose Prevention Training [link to blog post].  We also communicate regularly with State Government (particularly the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley) to help the government understand trends in drug use and treatment and to lobby for the needs of the sector.