two people smiling and looking at an electronic device

IAR-DST Training

PHNs nationally have established an IAR Team to support dissemination of information and provide training to use and embed the IAR-DST in clinical practice (as appropriate).
two people smiling and looking at an electronic device

Initial Assessment Referral and Decision Support Tool

The Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool (IAR-DST) is an instrument for use in primary health care settings. It is based on a holistic framework to provide recommended stepped levels of care for an individual seeking mental health support to achieve the greatest benefit with the least intrusive evidence-based interventions.

A one stop assessment and management plan - giving you the information you need about a patient with mental health problems-linked automatically by a decision logic to a level of care management plan.

Adelaide PHN regularly provide group and individual training sessions online and at practice locations for GPs and other service providers to understand the use of the IAR-DST in day-to-day clinical practice.

Both epidemiological data on mental health in Australia and current difficulties in service provision are relevant in formulating an understanding of the IAR-DST developmental background.

Download the IAR-DST Training dates for July 2024

Download the IAR-DST Training dates for August/September 2024

Australia Mental Health data

  • 22% Australians currently have mental health disorder 
  • 45% Australians will experience a mental health disorder in a lifetime 
  • GPs see more patients for mental health problems than any other issue 
  • Mental health disorders are increasing at an alarming rate

This is complicated by  

  • Service overuse
  • Referral rejections across sectors 
  • Poor agreement on diagnosis across different professional groups 
  • Lack of uniformity in quality of assessments 
  • Inadequate resources for demand 

IAR-DST Background

A clinical instrument developed by clinicians for day-to-day clinical use.  

Developed by an Expert Advisory Group- comprised of GP Chairperson, representatives of all relevant colleges, associations and peak bodies, those with lived experience, with implementation led by Melbourne University staff.  

IAR-DST Structure

  • 8 Domains: symptoms, risk, functioning, co-morbidities, past history, stressors, supports, motivation- rated on a 5-point scale
  • 5 Levels of care: from watchful waiting/self-directed care to high intensity care

Reasons for use

  • Evidence-based  
  • Holistic 
  • Uses stepped care model 
  • High concordance in ratings across all professional groups 
  • Reduces risk for practitioners & patients 
  • National rollout and standard common language 
  • Allows for your clinical judgement 
  • Transdiagnostic 
  • High clinical relevance  
  • Patient centred and collaborative 
  • Assists with rapport building 
  • Can be linked with service availability on basis of Levels of Care 

After training

Training includes background, development presentation of the IAR and how it is used in practise. It is then applied practically to two clinical cases, chosen specifically for relevance to GPs, for discussion with the training psychiatrist.

  • For GPs/GP-registrars: A one-off reimbursement of $300 (Excl. GST)
  • 2 CPD hours - 1 Learning and 1 Review
  • Certificate of Attendance
  • Service mapping with the appropriate Levels of Care

Local survey results have been extremely positive in over 90% of GPs.

Interested in IAR-DST training?

Online training: please visit our “View our Education & Events Calendar" section and complete your registration.

Face-to-face training at your practice: please contact us at 

For more information: 3-min video on the IAR produced by Adelaide PHN

Last updated: July 10, 2024