Introduction in English

Ever since Psylos was founded in 1971, the organization has always contrived to unite two policy fields, namely mental health and sports.

Needless to say that in its long existence emphasis has shifted dramatically due to ever changing needs, new legislature, etc. Today’s approach is based on the following aspects:

A wide range of sports, geared towards people with mental health problems, while still pursuing the highest possible degree of integration [into the regular sports field]

Psylos and the associated clubs offer athletes with mental health issues an exclusive range of sports and activities that are especially adapted to their needs, interests and capacities. In addition to this Psylos initiates partnerships and collaborations on Flemish, regional and local levels aiming at maximum participation of people with mental health problems in regular sports clubs.

Meeting place for sports club staff and executives

Through the creation of theme-based assemblies, Psylos offers a unique forum for sports club staff members through which the interaction between the federation and the individual clubs on the one hand and the relationships between different clubs on the other can be enhanced. This also gives Psylos the ability to give specific support to its clubs in terms of their actual needs.
Not only in Belgium, but also on a European level, Psylos shares its ideas. Psylos used to be one of the partners in a Grundtvig-project concerning 'Sport for learning and social inclusion of the psychiatric people'.

Club support
Psylos offers their members sports related technical assistance as well as administrative and promotional help and policy support with regard to an optimum club functioning, a high-quality sports experience and the development of a local network.

Psylos provides a special educational program for its member clubs, in order to facilitate optimal club organization - taking both evolutions in sports and in mental health into account – and to guarantee qualified coaches for the participating athletes.

Information and positive imagery
In view of the increasing number of people who come in contact with athletes with mental health issues, Psylos shares its expertise in the field, in order to inform these people and help create a correct image. To achieve this, Psylos organizes activities where informal contact between both people with and without mental health problems is the main goal.

Now more than ever, Psylos aims to increase the sports participation of athletes with mental health issues and works towards growing into a fully fledged expertise centre for its associated clubs.


Mission statement

Psylos increases the participation of people with mental health issues in sports and offers a high quality array of sports opportunities aiming at the highest possible degree of integration for each of these people in the regular sports field.

Explanatory remarks:

  • Psylos tries to stimulate clients in mental health care to take up some permanent sports activities in their leisure time that fit within their personal abilities and interests; a choice that contributes to a healthier lifestyle.

  • Psylos offers a recreational sports and leisure program that is exclusive and oriented towards its target group where necessary, and focused on integration in the regular sports field if possible.

  • Psylos is democratically structured, maintains strong ties with those directly in the field and offers a unique forum for club staff as far as sports and leisure activities are concerned.

  • Psylos’s knowledge and expertise concerning sports and leisure activities in the field of mental health care is available to the benefit of society in general and the sports field specifically. Psylos functions as a ‘stepping stone’ offering their members the possibility to step into the regular sports world. 

Vision: continuum

This continuum has been developed by Psylos together with its partners Parantee and Recreas and wants to give an extensive overview of all sports opportunities available to people with any kind of disability and tries to match the sports on offer to each person. It is also an excellent opportunity to chart possible gaps to be bridged and possible obstacles that might prevent people with a disability to benefit from the opportunities on offer.

Based on these findings certain measures (decree, priority policy) and actions (position of federations) can be taken. The ideal situation would be that each athlete with any kind of disability could practice their sports or recreational activity in an environment where they feel comfortable and where their restrictions and abilities are taken into account. 


This continuum is a first draft describing the possibilities of participating in adapted sports; please note that this is a very flexible tool.

The specific capabilities of each individual athlete have to be taken into consideration. Specific abilities as opposed to restrictions should be our starting point.

Choice is very important: each athlete with any kind of restriction should be able to choose any sport and any accommodation or club.

Four factors have been taken into account in order to draw up this continuum:

  • Type of disability (motor, visual, auditory or mental handicap, mental health issues, multiple disabilities)

  • Branch of sports (individual sports, team sports, adapted sports)

  • Kind of sports (recreational, competitive-recreational, competitive, professional  sports)

  • Degree of integration (exclusive, special branch for people with disabilities, inclusive)

The degree of integration was used as the starting point for this continuum. An example:


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Organizationally integrated

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A football club only open to people with certain disabilities




A football team which is a division of a regular football club, but which takes part in separate competitions. There are different rules (if necessary).

A football team which is a division of a regular football team, and which takes part in regular (recreational) competition. There are no different rules




A football player with a disability, being a member of a regular football club



Address: Valkerijgang 26 - 3000 Leuven - Belgium

Tel: 0032 16 22 04 15