Consultation Draft - National Initial Assessment and Referral for Mental Healthcare

Closes 14 Dec 2021

Opened 17 Nov 2021


National Initial Assessment and Referral for Mental Healthcare for children and adolescents

Consultation Drafts - Survey

As part of the 2021-22 Budget, the Australian Government announced $34.2 million to expand and implement the Initial Assessment and Referral (IAR) tool into primary care settings to support General Practitioners, allied health professionals and referrers to determine a consistent and appropriate level of care for a person presenting for mental health assistance, using a holistic decision support tool.

The current IAR Guidance and Decision Support Tool were developed for adults, aged 18-65 years. In 2020-21, the Department of Health (the Department) funded additional work under the Budget to deliver adaptations that would focus on the development of new guidance and a Decision Support Tool (DST) for children (aged 5-11) and separately for adolescents (aged 12-17).

As a result of focussed working groups that were comprised of considerable expertise from clinical and those with lived experience in child and adolescent mental health, new draft guidance (called ‘Lift Outs’) to complement the IAR Guidance, and DSTs for children and adolescents have been developed.  

The Department is releasing the draft Lift Out and DST versions for each of these age groups for the purposes of consultation. A summary of the approach taken to adapt these documents from the adult version of the IAR is also included as part of this consultation package, together with further consultation information.

You are invited to submit any feedback that you have on the child and/or adolescent Lift Outs.

The consultation findings will inform the finalisation of the Child Lift Out and the Adolescent Lift Out and the resulting Decision Support Tools, which are scheduled for release and implementation from March 2022.

Why your views matter

The draft lift outs are attached below and are open for consultation via the survey linked below and will close at midnight 14 December 2021. If you have any questions about how to complete the survey, please email or

Thank you for your interest and we look forward to hearing your views. 

Privacy and personal information

Please see the links below for further detail on the consultation hub privacy information and Departmental privacy information.

Give us your views


  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
  • Families
  • Parents
  • Young people
  • Academics
  • State government agencies
  • Local governments
  • Health professionals
  • Health workforce
  • Community groups


  • e-Health
  • Children's health
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Mental health
  • Drugs and substance abuse
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
  • Preventative health