Initial Assessment and Referral - Decision Support Tool Update


The Initial Assessment and Referral (IAR) is an initiative of the Australian Department of Health on establishing effective systems for the initial assessment and referral of individuals presenting with mental health conditions in primary health care settings. Each PHN has an IAR Training and Support Officer to provide training to General Practitioners and clinicians in their catchment to learn about, use and embed the IAR Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST) into clinical practice.    

Why GPs are important in mental health

For most Australians, a general practice is the first port of call when they access Australia’s healthcare system, and their general practitioner (GP) is usually the first person they consult about their mental health care. In 2020-21, almost 13% of Australians aged 16-85 saw a GP for their mental health.

In 2019-20, approximately 30% of Medicare-subsidised services specific to mental health were provided by GPs. In a recent report, GPs reported – for the sixth consecutive year- that psychological conditions (including sleep disturbance and depression) were the most commonly reported reasons for patient presentations.

This is why GPs would benefit from skills and knowledge to identify and address patient’s mental health needs.

Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool uses 8 initial assessment domains that are used to match the clients to one of the 5 appropriate levels of care.

Mapping assessment on 5 levels of care

Mapping assessments on 8 interactive domains to 5 levels of care

Want to try the Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool out for yourself? 

If you would like to have a look at the IAR-DST, please click here

(The Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool does not replace clinical judgment based on presentation. Your clinical judgment is irreplaceable)

CSAPHN realise and value the importance of working collaboratively throughout the life of the Initial Assessment and Referral Project and Maria Hasan will be ready to support you for several years to come.  Please contact for one-on-one training in this new innovative tool.

IAR workshop conducted by National Project Manager

A $300 once-off incentive payment is available per GP and 4 CPD points apply, for completing the IAR training.

*Payment is available to GP and Registrars. Payment is not available to other medical staff, clinicians or GPs working in Adult Mental Health Centres or Aboriginal Medical Services already funded by the Government.

GPs and Registrars can choose to attend the National Training – IAR for Mental Healthcare delivered by Jenni Campbell (National Project Manager). It is a 2.5-hour workshop delivered online. To register for this option, click here.

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