Professional Development

Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST) Training for GPs

Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST) Training for GPs

What is the IAR-DST?

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

The National IAR Guidance and IAR Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST) were developed to provide primary healthcare with a nationally-consistent, evidence-based and objective approach to initial assessment and referral of patients seeking mental health support. The IAR-DST simplifies how clinicians determine the care needs of a patient with mental health concerns.

With a congested and overworked mental health sector, providing a consistent, standardised and transparent process for referral is timely and necessary.

How IAR Works

The IAR-DST is used to alongside a usual mental health assessment to gather information from the consumer. The assessment is undertaken across eight holistic domains which aim to describe clinical severity and service needs, and guide decisions on the most appropriate next steps (for example, intervention, further assessment).

Learning outcomes:

  • Describe the Initial Assessment and Referral development process
  • Describe 8 assessment domains of the Initial Assessment and Referral
  • Differentiate between levels of care and determine regional services appropriate to patients’ needs
  • Apply the decision support tool to generate a recommended level of care appropriate to the patient’s needs
  • Apply the principles related to clinical decision-making and consumer choice into practice

Why GP’s are important in mental health

For most Australians, a general practice is the first port of call when they access Australian’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.

GP Training Incentive

Once-off incentive payment direct to GP, or lump sum to practice for each participating GP. Ex GST.
(Payment is not available to other medical staff, clinicians or GP’s working in Adult Mental Health Centres or Aboriginal Medical Services already funded by the Government.)

GP Training Calendar

Click here for more training dates


Attendees may record one-hour Educational Activities, and one hour Reviewing Performance.


Jovy Buenaventura
IAR Training and Support Officer
0467 246 564


27 Jul 2023


4:30 pm - 6:30 pm



More Info

Register GPs only

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