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New Erasmus+ Sport project: Dual Careers for Mental Health (DC4MH)

  • October 21, 2020

For the 2020 Erasmus+ Sport call, the research group Sport Psychology and Mental Support (SPMB) and the dpt. Topsport en Studie submitted as a coordinator a collaborative partnership entitled Dual Careers for Mental Health (DC4MH). The European Commission published the results yesterday (October 20). We are very excited to announce that our project will be funded for the full grant of 400k! The project will be led by VUB (prof. dr. Paul Wylleman, dr. Koen De Brandt, dr. Jolan Kegelaers, dr. Simon Defruyt and dra. Sofie Smismans).

DC4MH will start in January 2021 and aims to optimize 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:

1. Mental health structures in DC organizations

2. Mental health monitoring

3. Mental health literacy 

4. Preventive psychological resilience-building strategies


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.



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 includes:


4 SPORT ORGANISATIONS with expertise in establishing/providing dual career pathways and delivering mental health services to talented and elite athletes, namely:

  • 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)


1 SPORT GYMNASIUM with expertise in establishing/providing dual ‘elite sport and secondary education’ career pathways and delivering mental health services to talented athletes, namely: 

  • Gimnazija Šiška (Janja Tekavc, Andreja Žan, Iztok Usenik) 


5 UNIVERSITIES with expertise in research on dual career pathways and mental health of talented and elite athletes, and establishing/providing dual ‘elite sport and higher education’ career pathways to talented and elite athletes,namely:

  • 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)


1 HEALTH INSTITUTE as part of Università di Verona with expertise in research on mental health and delivering mental health services, namely:

  • World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre (CC) for Research and Training in Mental Health and Service Evaluation (Corrado Barbui) 


The consortium is coordinated by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). For more information on the DC4MH project, please contact dr. Koen De Brandt ( 

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

Results of the Erasmus+ Sport 2020 call: