Utility of a crisis triage rating scale in a rural 1800 mental health telephone service

VH Ledek, Frank P. Deane, Geoff Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


In 1999 NSW Health provided funds for the establishment of a free call 1800-Mental Health Information and Support
Service (1800-MHISS) in the Mid Western Area Health
Service. A major component of the 1800-MHISS is its triage
function, which primarily determines whether a Mental Health
Service response is appropriate, and if so, the level of that
response. To aid in decision-making the Crisis Triage Rating
Scale (CTRS) was embedded within the 1800-MHISS triage
protocol. The study aimed to: improve the efficiency of the
1800-MHISS assessment process; assess whether the CTRS
accurately identified the level of client risk and referrals that
required the immediate activation of the extended after hours
team (EHT); refine the CTRS scoring and decision making
criteria in light of the above objectives. A total of 2113 full
triage assessments were completed over a 15-month period.
The study compared triage assessment ratings completed by
the 1800-MHISS telephone workers with 300 ratings
completed by EHT clinicians at the conclusion of their faceto-
face callout. The findings are discussed in relation to the
overall utility of the CTRS within the 1800-MHISS and the
relative advantages of adjusting CTRS cut-off points for the
identification of risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-162
Number of pages1
JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
Issue numberSupplement S1
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes
Event36th Annual Conference of The Australian Psychological Society - Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 20 Sep 200124 Sep 2001

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