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For the 2020 Erasmus+ Sport call, the research group Sport Psychology and Mental Support (SPMB) and the dpt. Top Sport & Study of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) submitted as a coordinator a collaborative partnership entitled Dual Careers for Mental Health (DC4MH). The Erasmus+ Sport programme of the European Union co-funds the project for the full grant of 400k. The project is led by VUB (prof. dr. Paul Wylleman, dr. Koen De Brandt, dr. Jolan Kegelaers, dr. Simon Defruyt and dra. Sofie Smismans).

DC4MH kicks off in January 2021 and aims at optimizing mental health services within European dual career organizations. The project brings together a consortium of 28 experts on mental health and dual career representing 10 organizations from 6 Member States (Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden). The consortium includes a range of different organizations (i.e. national sport governing bodies, high performance center, elite sport club, universities, sport gymnasium, health institute) and span both secondary education and higher education.

DC4MH aims to optimize mental health services within European Dual Career (DC) ‘elite sport and education’ organizations. More specifically, the objective is to develop, implement, and evaluate evidence-based mental health promotion recommendations and tools, centered around four pillars.


DC4MH 4 foci

Impact of DC4MH

The recommendations and tools developed and implemented within this project will allow DC organizations to optimize their support services and facilitate a healthy combination of high-level sports and education. It is projected that 9.195 DC athletes can be involved in this project through the consortium partners. DC4MH and its outcomes aim to make an impact by bringing direct added value to dual career practice, research and policy by: 

  • promoting and increasing awareness on the topic of dual career and mental health, 

  • providing opportunities to develop a detailed understanding of dual career and mental health, 

  • increasing and enhancing opportunities for the evaluation and development of DC athletes’ and DC stakeholders’ competencies

  • increasing and enhancing opportunities for the evaluation and optimization of DC support services, and

  • facilitating cooperation related to dual career and mental health between sport, education and health stakeholders.


"It is projected that 9.195 DC athletes will be involved in the DC4MH project"


In order to ensure an optimal expertise in relation to the topic of dual career and mental health, the project team brings together experts with specific and complementary expertise, responsibilities and tasks, from six EU Member States. The consortium is coordinated by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and includes:

  • Royal Sport Club Anderlecht (Jan Verlinden, Stijn De Bosscher, Jan Kayaert, Tine Geerardyn),
  • Team Denmark (Lars Holm, Magnus Wonsyld, Christina Teller, Anders Voigt Tinning, Gregory Diment)
  • Swedish Sport Confederation (Peter Mattsson, Kent Lindahl, Göran Kenttä)
  • Centre d’Alt Rendiment (Susana Reguela, Xavier Balius)
  • Gimnazija Šiška (Janja Tekavc, Andreja Žan, Iztok Usenik) 
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Paul Wylleman, Koen De Brandt, Jolan Kegelaers, Simon Defruyt, Sofie Smismans); coordinator
  • Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Miquel Torregrossa, Yago Ramis, Anna Jordana, Marta Borrueco)
  • Halmstad University (Natalia Stambulova, Andreas Ivarsson)
  • Università di Verona (Francesca Vitali, Federico Schena, Cecilia Camellini)
  • Univerza v Ljubljani (Saša Cecić Erpič)
  • World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre (CC) for Research and Training in Mental Health and Service Evaluation (Corrado Barbui)


For more information on the DC4MH project, please contact dr. Koen De Brandt ( and keep an eye on this page for updates.

SPMB also coordinates other projects on mental health in sports. Find an overview here:

Results of the Erasmus+ Sport 2020 call:




DC4MH project coordinators

  • prof. Paul Wylleman, VUB
  • dr. Koen De Brandt, VUB
  • dr. Jolan Kegelaers, VUB
  • dr. Simon Defruyt, VUB
  • dra. Sofie Smismans, VUB