Service and Program Awards Application

About the Service and Program Awards

TheMHS Awards program is a peer review process and acknowledges service excellence. Winners are announced at the Awards Ceremony held during the TheMHS Annual Conference.

How to Choose a Category

As health care is a continuum, our categories may overlap. The categories are useful to help to limit the variability amongst entries being assessed within any one category. Therefore choose the category which best reflects the primary focus of your entry.

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.

Please contact the TheMHS office if unsure of the correct category –

Please click on relevant category for category definition.

Therapeutic and Clinical Services

This can be at any stage of care provision.

An assessment program or service may offer assessment only or assessment and treatment.

A treatment program or service offers clinical treatment for the management of symptoms. (Assessment and treatment are also aspects of ongoing support services but, for the purposes of category selection, would not be the primary purpose of a service in Category 2.)

Psychosocial and/or 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

This Category is exempt from Rule 1 (see rules and scoring below). In the Mental Health Promotion Category, 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.

Education, Training, or Workforce Development

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

Lived Experience Leadership

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

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 wellbeing)

If your program or service does not fit the above categories you should enter this category. 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. This category is appropriate for Physical Health, Primary Care and larger multistrand services. Physical health and Primary Care entries will have a focus on aspects of physical health relating to a person’s recovery and wellbeing.

Recovery Definitions

  • The National Standards for Mental Health Services 2010 set out a Recovery Standard, with criteria and Recovery Principles. The full set of standards can be found on the Australian Government website (refer to Standards 10.1 & 10.5).
  • From the Framework for Recovery-Oriented Practice, Department of Health, Victoria; 2011:
    “The Principles of ‘recovery’ oriented practice are considered an overarching philosophy that encompasses notions of self-determination, self-management, personal growth, empowerment, choice and meaningful social engagement.”
  • View the brochure on Recovery-orientated practice for consumers and carers.”Consumer and carer guide to recovery principles that support recovery-orientated mental health practice”.
Thank you for your interest in TheMHS Awards. We value your Awards entry greatly.

Before lodging your entry please ensure that:

  • You have read the “Lodging your entry” instructions
  • You meet the relevant “Entry Rules and Scoring”
  • You have read and followed the “Preparing your entry” instructions

If you experience any difficulties, please email or telephone +61(2) 9810 8700

  • Entry in operation prior to 1 July 2018. (Mental Health Promotion or Mental Illness Prevention Program or Project is exempt)
  • Entry in one category only.
  • Different parts of a larger organisation may enter different categories.
  • Previous winning entries can reapply after one year has elapsed (i.e. if awarded in 2019, cannot reapply until 2021) on the condition that there is documented evidence of significant development or change.

Conflict of Interest in the Judging Process – View the Statement

Judges have the right not to accept an entry which in their opinion does not comply with the requirements of TheMHS Awards program. The judges’ decision will be final. TheMHS Awards Committee reserves the right to withdraw a TheMHS Award if it later finds the entrant did not comply with the entry conditions.


TheMHS Awards program is a peer review process, based on information supplied by the applicant. In each of the assessment panels we strive to create a balance of types of experience and backgrounds. The aim is to achieve panels with an overview of excellence in specific areas of mental health practice with representatives from across Australia and New Zealand. To view the Judging Process, click here.

In general the assessors will be looking to give awards to those services that are striving to achieve the national policies and plans of Australia and New Zealand respectively, within the constraints of resources available.

Criteria to address in the full description section of your entry:

  • Evidence of a a significant contribution to the field of mental health on a local, state or national level.
  •  Evidence of innovation and/or recognised best practice.
  • Evidence of participation of mental health consumers, in the planning, implementation and evaluation of mental health service delivery. There may be exceptions to the involvement of mental health consumers. Please explain any particular circumstances where the involvement of mental health consumers is different or limited. View the definition of a Mental Health Consumer.
  • Evidence of partnerships and linkages (collaboration for continuity between organisations).
  • Verification of effectiveness (quality improvement activity, data collection and its use including graphs and tables, achievement of performance indicators, e.g. attendance figures, outcome measures, number of document downloads, page views, click through rates).
Part A – Submit Online

Please prepare and have ready to include with your online submission:

  • Demographic details.
  • A brief description of the service/program/person entered for award.
    (150 words or less that best describes the essence of your entry to an audience or journalist. This will be used in preparing the book of Award winners and finalists should the entry be successful.)
  • Background description of organisation.
    (e.g. area served, budget, funding sources, staff numbers, number of active clients, etc. 150 word limit)
Part B – Submit online

Prepare Part B according to the following instructions and have ready to submit as a single pdf file.

All applications must include the following cover page with the appropriate fields filled in. Please download the cover page and ensure that this is the first page of your document:

Service and Program Cover Sheet

Please ensure that your entry also includes the following:

  • Additional Information about Entry – up to 1 x A4 page.
  • Address each of the criteria below – up to 10 X A4 pages (Judges allocate marks to each criterion)
    1. Evidence of a significant contribution to the field of mental health on a local, state or national level.
    2. Evidence of innovation and/or recognised best practice.
    3. Evidence of participation of mental health consumers, in the planning, implementation and evaluation as relevant.
    4. Evidence of Partnerships and Linkages (collaboration for continuity between organisations).
    5. Verification and evaluation of the program’s effectiveness
  • Conclusion
  • Referees: Nominate two referees.
  • Appendix of Support Material: up to 8 x A4 pages
Once you have prepared Part A and Part B you will need to create an account and log in. To lodge your entry, first register your details by clicking on “Update Details”. Next, click on “Part A Submission’ and follow the prompts to complete Part A.

After Saving a Draft or Submitting Part A you will be able to access Part B. You can submit Part A and Part B separately. You just need to use the link and your unique Sign In details. You can move between previous screens using the back and forwards arrow at the top of the computer screen or the tabs at the top of the page. To access a saved draft or view a submitted Entry, select the View/Edit Part A or View/Edit Part B tab.

Thank you for your interest in TheMHS Awards. We value your Awards entry greatly!