Parliament House

Productivity Commission Press Release

St Kilda not-for-profit featured in the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Mental Health

First Step is leading Australia in the provision of outpatient
co-located mental health and addiction services



Melbourne – 23/11/2020 Last week, the Productivity Commission highlighted the work of St Kilda organisation First Step, in the long-awaited final report of its inquiry into mental health.   Over 20 years, First Step has established itself as a leader in the provision of co-located addiction, mental health and legal services in an accessible, outpatient setting.

“The team at First Step has developed a model that ensures that our clients get all the help they want and need from one team in one place.  When people have complex mental health and addiction issues, co-location really is the only way to provide them with meaningful support, through a team of experts working face-to-face with the client and each other, every day.  To have our model recognised by the Productivity Commission is a significant step towards more people getting the help they need” said First Step CEO Patrick Lawrence.

Overcoming treatment silos

For many years, drug and alcohol treatment and mental health treatment have been funded by different departments within state and federal governments.  The result is a sector where organisations specialize in one or the other, and people rarely receive whole-person care. Both the Productivity Commission and the interim report from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System continually emphasise the need for collaboration and integration, and note the lack of examples around the country.

The Productivity Commission states that “Transitioning to a model of mental healthcare based on collaboration and integration represents a substantial cultural shift compared with the siloed nature of existing services. [First Step] has a multi‑disciplinary team on the one site [where] everyone collaborates with everyone else face to face.” The report goes on to highlight the fact that First Step “staff have a high level of expertise and qualifications, use a strength‑based approach, have endless persistence and a collaborative ethos.”

At First Step we believe that everybody deserves every chance to turn their lives around and that our model of care is not only impactful for our clients, but also efficient and affordable, and of national significance.


For more information, press only:

Patrick Lawrence, CEO
0438 414 467
[email protected]




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