First Step Recovery Center

The road to a successful recovery begins with Mercy First Step. Professionals at Mercy Behavioral Health and Mercy First Step work together to coordinate patient treatment, including social and psychological services, with medical care and can arrange for additional community resources, if needed. Personalized and confidential treatment options are available for people of all ages and do not require a referral from a family physician.

Evaluation and Assessment

Mercy First Step treatment begins with a comprehensive assessment to determine the level of care needed for each individual patient. The assessment includes a thorough review of substance abuse history, previous treatments, a complete analysis of physical and mental health and a review of family and peer relationships and support systems. Assessments are available Monday through Thursday by calling (515) 271-6075. Once the assessment is completed, Mercy First Step staff will refer patients to the most appropriate treatment option. The length of treatment will vary based on the specific needs of each individual patient.

Outpatient Services

The team of professionals at Mercy First Step offers an intensive outpatient treatment program to treat patients with both chemical dependency and emotional or psychiatric illness or recurring disorders. Treatment options consist of individual counseling, group therapy, education, family therapy and peer support.


Patients who need to be medically monitored during a withdrawal period will be referred to the Mercy Emergency Department  for medical clearance. 

Adolescent Programming

Mercy First Step offers a unique program to assist teens and their families dealing with the struggles associated with substance abuse and dependence. Treatment consists of individual counseling, group therapy, family therapy, peer support, dual diagnosis, education and continuing care.

Family Support

Family involvement is a key component to a patient’s successful recovery. The family program offers services – including support and educational services – to relatives and significant others involved with patients admitted to Mercy First Step treatment programs.

Continuing Recovery

Patients who successfully complete treatment are invited to participate in continuing care/recovery services, as needed. Weekly peer support groups and staff-facilitated care is offered to patients at no additional charge.

Relapse Treatment

Mercy First Step offers a separate program for patients who have successfully completed treatment but have ongoing difficulties maintaining sobriety or abstinence. Treatment options may include outpatient services or participation in the continuing care/recovery program.

Substance Abuse Consultation

Patients recently admitted to Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines can schedule a substance abuse evaluation immediately following discharge from the hospital. Evaluation and treatment can begin by calling Mercy First Step at (515) 271-6075. Same day appointments are available.


Mercy First Step is a service of Mercy Behavioral Health, a department within Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines. Services received through Mercy Behavioral Health will be billed through the hospital billing system. A financial counselor is available to address concerns regarding co-payments or other financial obligations, the estimated cost of treatment and options for assistance for those who do not have health insurance.



(515) 247-3121
1111 6th Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50314

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