Initial Assessment and Referral
Decision Support Tool

The Initial Assessment and Referral (IAR ) is a tool to assist general practitioners and clinicians to recommend the most appropriate level of care for a person seeking mental health support.

The IAR is an initiative of the Australian Department of Health and brings together information from a range of sources including Australian and international evidence and advice from a range of leading experts.

The IAR is designed to assist the various parties involved in the assessment and referral process, including:

  • General practitioners (GPs) and other clinicians seeking to determine the most appropriate care type and intensity for individuals.
  • Commissioned providers, intake teams and PHNs responsible for undertaking initial assessments which may involve making recommendations on the level of care required.


The IAR guidance identifies eight domains that should be considered when determining the next steps in the referral and treatment process for a person seeking mental health support. There are 4 primary assessment domains and 4 contextual domains. Specific criteria are outlined in the guidance for assessing severity across each domain.

Levels of Care

The information gathered through the initial assessment domains is used to recommend a service type and intensity (level of care) and inform a referral decision. This process is based on a clinically informed algorithm and is calculated automatically using the digital Decision Support Tool (DST). The levels are differentiated by the amount and scope of resources that are likely to be required.


The training consists of 2 workshops:

  • Workshop 1: 30-minute – Open learning
    Workshop 1 is a pre-requisite for Workshop 2
  • Workshop 2: 90-minute
    Workshop 2 must be completed with in 6 months of workshop 1

CPD and reimbursement of $300 applies only upon successful completion and participation in both workshops.  **

**Reimbursement only available to General Practitioners (some conditions apply)

Workshop Access Code: iar-workshop-one-wapha-phn_zxfhqmknoxxxsita 

IAR DST Workshop 1   

April – July 2023 workshop schedule 

For further information, please contact your training support officers:


While the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care has contributed to the funding of this website, the information on this website does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government and is not advice that is provided, or information that is endorsed, by the Australian Government. The Australian Government is not responsible in negligence or otherwise for any injury, loss or damage however arising from the use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.