The Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST) for Mental Healthcare.


The Initial Assessment and Referral (IAR) is a national initiative from the Department of Health and Aged Care to establish effective systems for the initial assessment and referral of individuals presenting with mental health conditions in primary health care settings.

Guided by clinicians’ own assessment and clinical judgement, the Initial Assessment and Referral – Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST) provides a consistent framework to deliberate decisions when matching a person’s mental health needs with the right level of service intensity, at the right time. National widespread use of the IAR-DST aims to build a common language across the mental health sector about treatment needs based on the person-centred and evidence-based stepped care approach.

The IAR-DST assessment is undertaken using eight initial assessment domains that are used to match clients to one of five appropriate levels of care. The eight domains help to distil essential assessment information and identify key signals (i.e. red flags) that are critical for decision making.

The 8 initial assessment domains that are used to match clients to one of five appropriate levels of care

The eight initial assessment domains that are used to match clients to one of five appropriate levels of care.


Benefits and uses of the IAR-DST:

  • Simplify how clinicians determine the care needs of a patient with mental health concerns,

  • Prevent patients from being overburdened with services they may not need or cope well with, or under-serviced with recommendations that may not meet their needs,

  • Improve transparency on decisions made relating to referrals, and

  • Create consistency and a common language amongst health professionals, enabling them to articulate treatment needs that will be understood across the sector.


IAR-DST Training

WNSW PHN provides online training and support to assist GPs and other clinicians in using the IAR-DST. The training is designed to provide you with all the information you need to use the tool in your everyday practice.

Training is offered by WNSW PHN and the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. Upcoming training dates and registration links are below:


Wednesday 29th May 6:30pm – 9:00pm Register
Thursday 30th May 9:30am – 12:00pm Register

Alternatively, if you have 5 or more GPs and would like to schedule a session, please contact Erin Hollier at erin.hollier@wnswphn.org.au


GPs and GP Registrars will be paid $300* (see T&Cs) upon completion of the training and ACRRM and RACGP CPD hours are available.


Useful Resources


More information & Support

Please contact Erin Hollier at WNSW PHN for more information or support.

erin.hollier@wnswphn.org.au

0499 936 177