Culturally responsive intake and training pilot


8 December 2023 - 28 June 2024

Funding Amount:




Melbourne Macedon Ranges Yarra Moonee Valley Darebin Maribyrnong Hobsons Bay Wyndham Brimbank Moorabool Melton Hume Merri-bek


Early findings from the NWMPHN Mental Health focused Health Needs Assessment identified that consumers from some language communities and diaspora are not accessing mainstream mental health services due to stigma, and previous poor experience. There are also perceptions relating to lack of cultural training and safety on the part of health organisations.  

These findings highlighted the need to understand what effective a culturally responsive initial assessment and referral process looks like and how it differs from what currently occurs in the NWMPHN catchment.  

They also highlight the need to understand the best approach to enhance the skills of mental health practitioners to work effectively and safely with people from multicultural communities.  

The pilot will be conducted in partnership with Pola Practice. It includes 2 main components: 

  1. Testing the delivery of the initial assessment and referral decision support tool (IAR-DST) in a culturally responsive intake setting.  
  2. Designing and delivering a training package for commissioned mental health service providers that improves capability and confidence to delivery culturally responsive care.  

The pilot objectives are: 

  1. To understand the considerations and nuances of the use of the IAR-DST within multicultural communities to support continuous quality improvement in the NWMPHN referral and access process. 
  2. To design and deliver a training package targeted at mental health service providers to improve capability and confidence to deliver culturally responsive care through structured psychological therapies. 
  3. To understand the effectiveness of the training in enabling clinicians to modify their psychological service delivery and the impact on consumer’s experience of care.
  4. To determine the suitability of the training for potential scaling to other commissioned mental health service providers. 

The pilot will occur over the first 6 months of 2024. 


Expected outcomes include:

  • insights into the appropriateness of the IAR-DST within a culturally responsive intake process
  • insights into the effectiveness of the culturally responsive training program in improving provider capacity and confidence to deliver culturally responsive care.

Services involved