Service and Program Awards

Awards submissions now closed.

About the Service and Program Awards

The Service and Program Awards commenced in 1992. The categories are reviewed each year and adjusted to reflect the changing emphasis of the Mental Health Strategies of Australia and New Zealand.

There are currently six categories for Programs and Services.

How to choose a category

  • Choose the category which best reflects the primary focus of your entry.
    As health care is a continuum, our categories may overlap. The categories help to limit the variability amongst entries within any one category.
  • Some categories highlight areas of service development which have been selected to raise the profile in these areas. An entry should be placed within one of these categories if appropriate rather than the broader categories.
  • Contact the TheMHS office if unsure of the correct category –

Click on the relevant category below for category definition.

Therapeutic and Clinical Services

This category should include those interventions designed to have a treatment/healing effect related to the symptoms of mental illness.

  • May provide assessment, diagnosis or treatment.
  • May be at any stage of care.
  • May be individual, relationship, group or family therapy.
  • May be a clinical treatment for the management of symptoms, such as cognitive behavioural therapy.

Other examples include treatments to reduce distress, manage depression or grief, sexual therapy, early intervention or behavioural disturbance in children.

Psychosocial and Support

This category is for those services or programs which support a person to move towards one or more of his/her stated life goals – looking beyond the diagnosis of a mental illness to autonomy on a wider “stage”.

Mental Health Promotion or Mental Illness Prevention

TheMHS defines Health Promotion according to the guidelines set out by WHO:

Health promotion enables people to increase control over their own health. It covers a wide range of social and environmental interventions that are designed to benefit and protect individual people’s health and quality of life by addressing and preventing the root causes of ill health, not just focusing on treatment and cure.

Recommended reading here.

This Category is exempt from the minimum time of operation rule.

For the purposes of responding to the marking criteria, the consumer of the service is the target group of the health promotion but, where possible and relevant, the entry should demonstrate involvement of mental health consumers in the development and management of the service/program e.g. a reference group or committee membership.


Judges will be looking for effective transfer of knowledge into practice e.g. use of mentoring.


This category is for services or programs where significant leadership is provided by persons who have personally experienced a mental illness/unhealth/illhealth/unwellness.

Different terms for these roles may be used such as “mental health consumer”, “consumer advocate”, or “peer worker”. The term “mental health consumers” refers to people who are currently using, or have previously used, a mental health service and includes people who have accessed general health services for a mental health problem. For the purposes of this statement, this term includes those with emerging or established mental illness for which they have not yet sought treatment, or for whom treatment has not yet been provided. (For more information see The National Standards for Mental Health Services 2010).

The term “Peer Worker” refers to a person who is employed in a role that requires them to identify as being, or having been a mental health consumer. Peer work requires that lived experience of mental illness is an essential criterion of job descriptions, although job titles and related tasks vary. (From webpage for the Peer Worker Conference 2015 – “dialog: conversations with peer workers”).

For more information see The National Standards for Mental Health Services 2010 and the Health Workforce Australia [2014]:
Mental Health Peer Workforce Study.


(Includes physical health/primary care, profit and NFP, workplace mental health and wellbeing).

It is not possible to anticipate the wealth and variation of entries received and there are always entries which do not fit the defined categories each year. If your program or service does not fit the other categories you should enter in this category.

Physical health and primary care entries will show how aspects of physical health relate to a person’s recovery and wellbeing.

Eligibility and Criteria

Please download the Award Information PDF for further information about applying for this category of Award, including, rules, eligibility and entry guidelines.

Key Dates

  • Service & Program, Research and Exceptional Contribution  - Awards Entries open 19 January 2023
  • Wellbeing in the Workplace - Awards Entries open 19 January 2023
  • Media Awards Open - Awards Entries open 19 January 2023

Ready to Apply? 

Once you have submitted your application, you will be unable to edit your application at all, so ensure you have uploaded all documentation correctly prior to submitting your application.