15 - 18 August 2023
Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide

The Mental Health Services Conference

Bringing humanity and human rights into mental health

15 - 18 August 2023
Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide

The Mental Health Services Conference

Bringing humanity and human rights into mental health


Abstract Submission Guidelines

Anyone involved in the mental health field can submit an abstract for consideration for TheMHS Conference 2023 – Adelaide program.
Abstracts open 19 Jan 2023 and close 5 pm AEDT on 17 March 2023.
Please read the following instructions carefully, to avoid submitting incomplete papers.


Submission Process

Your abstract must be submitted online. After filling in your personal details, the abstract submission process involves entering the following:

  1. Abstract Title
  2. Presentation Type
  3. Theme and Sub-Theme
  4. Authors
  5. Presenting Author(s) Biography
  6. Abstract
  7. Learning Objective
  8. References

Abstracts are accepted on the following conditions:

  • Papers must be presented by the authors. Proxies will not be permitted except in an emergency such as illness or misadventure.
  • The Committee reserves the right to accept or refuse any submission.
  • The Committee reserves the right to allocate a session time or presentation type, which differs from that applied for.
  • Wherever possible, ensure that a range of stakeholders including consumers, are included as presenters in symposia, workshops, debates and roundtables.
  • Do not include tables, diagrams or graphs in the abstract.


  • That only the first author will be advised in writing with regard to the acceptance or otherwise of the abstract submission. The first author (as given in the application) will be the main contact for correspondence about the presentation, therefore please include an additional email if you would like another contact copied in.
  • All presenters must register & pay for at least the day of the conference on which they are presenting.

Abstract Guidelines

Submissions that do not adhere to the guidelines will be returned to the author for editing.

Length of Abstract

  • Abstracts for all papers and ePosters should be a maximum of 200 words (excluding learning objective and references).
  • Abstracts for symposia, workshops, roundtables or other innovative presentation types should not exceed a total of 800 words (excluding learning objective and references).

Content of Abstract

The abstract:

  • The abstract should be as informative as possible and truly represent the intended presentation.
  • Your abstract will be used both for selection purposes and if selected will be used in the online program.
  • It should include a statement of the aims of the presentation; sufficient information to allow a delegate to learn what may be gained by attending the presentation; a strong concluding sentence in summary of the abstract.
  • Consideration of the overall conference theme of ‘ Making Rights Real – bringing humanity and human rights into mental health’ should be given, and your abstract should clearly explain how your presentation relates to this overarching conference theme.
  • TheMHS values and welcomes sharing of lived experience via presentations, however it is important to include how this relates to an understanding of mental ill-health and/or to mental health service policy, delivery and/or development.

Refer to samples below for examples of highly- rated abstracts for oral presentations and ePosters.


When submitting an abstract, you will be asked two questions relating to the topic of your abstract.  These will help us to program your abstract together with other related papers, in the most appropriate session. These questions and the possible answers are:

1: Which (one) topic best describes the focus of your paper?

  • Clinical programs and innovation
  • Co-design and co-production
  • Implementation, translation and quality
  • Partnering between clinical and community services
  • Policy and legislation
  • Prevention and Promotion
  • Recovery and wellbeing
  • Research and evaluation
  • Service systems design and management
  • Social justice and human rights
  • Workforce (capacity building, education, and wellbeing)

2: Which (two) topics best describes the people, issues, groups or settings relevant to your paper?

  • Adult
  • Ageing
  • Alcohol and other drugs
  • Carers, families, support networks
  • Community
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse
  • Digital
  • First nations
  • Homelessness and housing
  • Hospital or facility
  • Lived experience – consumer perspective
  • Lived experience workforce
  • Physical health
  • Rural and remote
  • Suicidality and acute distress
  • Support workers
  • Youth

Learning Objectives

In the learning objective section, you will need to outline your response to the below two questions. Responses should be limited to 50 words for the learning objective only.

  1. What is the primary key message you want the audience to take away or gain from your presentation?
  2. How is your presentation relevant to the field of mental health? (Outline one key point)

Refer to samples below for examples of strong learning objectives.


This section is preferred; however, it is not compulsory. We recommend you enter two references to support your abstract. Please note that these must be academic references, not character or personal references.

References may be formatted in your preferred academic style.

If in doubt, TheMHS Learning Network recommends using the APA referencing style:

e.g., For a journal:
Surname, J.S., & Surname, A.D. (2011). Article title. Journal Title, 10(4), 299-300.

e.g., For a book:
O’Donoghue, T., & Clarke, S. (2010). Leading learning: Process, themes and issues in international contexts. London: Routledge.

Types of Presentations

Please note that time limits for speakers will be strictly enforced so that there is adequate time for discussion of papers and for other speakers in the session to have their full allocated time.

Please take this into account when submitting your abstracts and that if accepted, you may be accepted for a different length of time than you have requested.

TheMHS welcomes Lived Experience Consumer and Carer submissions across the topic areas.

Oral Presentations

  • An oral presentation can include innovations, research, services, creative therapies and arts, or personal stories.
  • Each presentation is 15 minutes not including discussion time. There will be a combined discussion time after all papers in the session have been presented.
  • Focus wherever possible on programs/initiatives/research that have been implemented and where results and learnings are available and form part of your presentation.
  • The maximum suggested number of presenters per paper: 2


  • Design your workshop to be participatory.
  • The focus will be on a particular issue or topic relevant to mental health services and audience participation is maximised. For example, the opportunity for discussion and debate on a given topic, or practical learning of skills.
  • At least 50% of the total allotted time must be devoted to questions and answers, or to group interaction – remember this is NOT a lecture.
  • Within your abstract, submit a brief plan of how the time will be allocated/managed.
  • The suggested number of presenters: 3 – 5
  • Workshops can be submitted for either 60 or 90 minutes.


  • The symposium is designed to take a more formal approach to the selected topic.
  • At least 20% of the total allotted time must be devoted to audience interaction.
  • Within your abstract, submit a brief plan, containing a description of the unifying theme(s) as a whole, followed by an abstract of each individual paper within the symposium.
  • The suggested number of presenters: 3 – 5 presenters, including a chairperson.
  • Symposia can be submitted for either 60 or 90 minutes.


  • e-Posters provide an opportunity to display new research or evaluation results, clinical or service advances, new program features, or work-in-progress. TheMHS will facilitate connection between delegates and authors of e-Posters by:
    • Providing all delegates with copies of ‘e-Poster Abstracts’
    • Providing all delegates with contact details for all e-Posters (with permission of author/s)
  • There is no speaking component to ePoster presentations in general, but the top scoring ePosters will be invited to present their ePoster in a session, using the Pecha Kucha method as part of the conference. More details will be shared with the accepted ePosters.
  • Listed presenting authors will need to register for at least one day of the conference.
  • For more information on the format of ePoster and instructions on how to write ePosters refer to the specific ‘ePoster Guidelines’ below.

Other Presentation Types

  • This presentation category is only for submissions that do not fit within one of the above categories.
  • Within your abstract, submit a brief plan including explanation of the proposed presentation format and how the presentation or session time will be allocated/managed.
  • Other presentation types could include performances, panel sessions, debates, roundtables, fishbowl sessions, etc.
  • The presentation needs to fit into a 30, 60 or 90 minute time frame.

Author Information

Only the first author will be advised in writing with regard to the acceptance or otherwise of the abstract submission. The first author/presenter (as given in application) will be the main contact for correspondence about the presentation, therefore please include an additional email if you would like another contact copied in.

  • All presenters must register & pay for at least the day of the conference on which they are presenting.
  • In the submission portal you will need to include a 50-word bio for each presenter. Please note these bios will not be read out by the chairperson on the day, but are for the conference website/app.
  • In the abstract portal you will need to provide the below information for each abstract author.
    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • Who is the main presenter (main contact)
    • Position – refers to your job title, e.g., Manager, Mental Health Worker
    • Affiliation – such as universities, hospitals etc.

All presenters of accepted abstracts are expected to honour their commitment to present and no changes/ withdrawals will be accepted less than three weeks from the date of conference, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

Tips for Writing Abstracts

  • The abstract is a brief overview of what will be covered in the presentation. It is NOT a brief discussion of the topic.
  • Abstract should read as a standalone overview of the entire project, and should engage readers enough that they want to learn more.
  • An abstract should address 6 main points/section, with one to three sentences only per point/section.
    1. Begin with an overall statement about the topic
      • Introduce the key words / major ideas from the topic of the presentation
      • What makes this topic distinct / significant to this conference
    2. The purpose of the presentation
      • A clear statement of what is the intent of YOUR Presentation
      • Where will you go with this?
      • How will your Presentation make a specific contribution to this conference?
      • Why is the topic important or what are the gaps in the research?
    3. The literature / background. No need for references here – unless your presentation is specifically focused on a particular reference, paper, book etc.)
      • What is the background to the work / topic etc.?
      • Major statistics that highlight the problems / issues
      • What literature have you drawn on – used to inform your work / approach?
    4. The methods/approach taken to the work
      • How have you approached the requirements for the presentation?
      • What is briefly the big picture?
      • How have you operationalised YOUR topic?
      • Outline the factors that focus on the specific issues
      • Identify the methods used e.g. case studies, questions for participants (If it is helpful)
    5. Important findings and implications – Outline the main findings and state what the implications are for
      • Mental health
      • Your work / topic for THIS Presentation.
    6. The conclusions of the paper
      • Give the reader a clear idea of what YOUR conclusions are and their significance
      • State what is your “take home message” from this Presentation

Terms & Conditions

As part of the abstract submission process the below terms and conditions must be agreed to by all authors/presenters:

  • I have read the information on the Abstract Submission webpage (this webpage) of the event website thoroughly and have addressed the guidelines.
  • I understand that submissions that do not adhere to the guidelines will be returned to the author for editing or will not be accepted.
  • I understand that if accepted, my presentation may be accepted for a different length of time than I have requested.
  • I understand that I will be notified of the outcome of my abstract submission in late April /early May 2023.
  • I understand that if my abstract is accepted for a presentation, all presenting authors will be required to register and pay for at least the day of the conference that the presentation is programmed on.



ePosters provide you exceptional flexibility and ease of design, since they can be prepared using Microsoft PowerPoint (or similar applications). The presentation will be displayed on large monitors and not on projection screens or flat panels, so the preparation differs from a presentation in a conference room. To assist in your preparation of your ePoster refer to the below documents:

Preparation - Design

The e-poster must be submitted in .jpg format. Once your ePoster abstract submission is accepted you will be asked to send the ePoster to us on info@themhs.org.

You can create your ePoster by using TheMHS ppt template or another of your choosing, but you must save (or export) it as jpg and double-check on a computer other than yours that it is functional.

ePosters are displayed on 55’’ screens with full HD resolution (1920×1080) pixels and a widescreen ratio of 16:9, so the image files must have 16:9 ratio and at least HD resolution (1280×720) up to full HD (1920×1080) at 100 – 150 dpi. This is the equivalent of 52.3 cm x 93.3 cm (in Portrait orientation).


Regarding which font to use, keep in mind that it is much safer if you use the default fonts, like Arial, Tahoma, Verdana etc.

To make sure the text is easily legible the below font sizes are suggested.

  • Title of the slide: The recommended size is ≥ 26 pt
  • Authors & Affiliations: The recommended size is ≥ 24pt
  • Main text: The recommended size is ≥ 24pt
  • Text in tables or figures: The recommended size is ≥ 24pt
  • Comments and references: The recommended size is ≥20pt

Structure & Content

The presentation should consist of 1 page (jpg format) using preferably the suggested ppt template.

Figures & Tables (optional)

If you don’t wish to include any figures or tables, you may delete the relevant boxes and adjust all the other boxes accordingly using more space and larger fonts for your texts.

PPT Tips

As is true of regular posters, many different software packages can be used to create ePosters. These instructions below are written for PowerPoint, but are applicable to any other software you may wish to use.

  • To ensure the above dimensions, make sure that in ppt, On-screen Show (16: 9) / Wide Screen (16: 9) is selected in the following path: Design> Page Setup> Slides Size> Transparency Size.
  • Use only one slide. ePosters should be created in a portrait layout.
  • Make sure your text and background have a large contrast (dark lettering on a light background or the reverse).
  • For embedded graphs and images prefer .jpeg or .png file formats in a resolution of at least 72 or 96 dpi.
  • Do not use animated effects, “animations” and videos. Video content is not permitted.
  • Before submitting, save your poster as an image from the ppt file, you can save it to an image file from File> Save as, selecting .jpg
  • Due to difference in operating system standards, formulas created on a Mac do not always translate correctly to a PC, so it’s highly recommended that you save formulas as images from a Mac before inserting them into your ePoster and saving as a pdf.

How to tell if your EPoster will display well

  • View the presentation on a monitor or TV that is 1920×1080 pixels (1080p). Even if the screen size is different, you’ll see how large things are in relation to each other. Keep in mind that a smaller screen with the same resolution will have a higher pixel density than a large screen, so lines and images may not look quite as smooth on our monitors.
  • Make sure you follow our guidelines for font size. Even if a small font looks good on a monitor, it may not on a bigger screen. A larger font ensures that the text will be smooth and easily readable.

Abstract submissions are open from 19 January to 17 March 2023. If you would like to enquire about the submission process, please contact us at info@themhs.org.