A collaboration between all student counselors/psychologists and external therapists/counselors

Psy-net is the mental health network for students in Antwerp. Psy-net is a collaboration between all student counselors/psychologists active within the Antwerp institutions of higher education and external psychotherapists and/or external partners. The total student population is over 40,000 students.

The partnership consists of all institutions of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Antwerp, namely UA, AP, KDG, HZS, and ITM, and the KU Leuven campus Antwerp and Thomas More campus Antwerp.

Psy-net was established to improve the mental health of students in Antwerp. The stage of life that students are in makes them susceptible to mental problems. It is important for educational institutions to provide adequate care for students in this context. On the one hand, this support determines the flow of students through higher education: those who feel better about themselves are usually able to study better. On the other hand, this support is also aimed at the outflow to the labor market: the support can contribute to the competences of the out-flowing students, and thus of the future employees.

Psy-net is an inter-professional network on mental health, on the one hand to guarantee high-quality reception for students, and on the other hand to exchange expertise between the various partners in mental health care around students.

The objective of Psy-net is to create and maintain a known and accessible inter-professional network

  1. based on the needs of students,
  2. with competent and professional counselors and supervisors,
  3. in which the participants actively participate and feel involved,
  4. that is aimed at sustainable assistance,
  5. that also focuses on prevention.

How it works

The operation of Psy-net is financially supported by contributions from the participating institutions and it is managed within Stuvant, the Association’s partnership around student services. Within Psy-net there is a steering committee that acts as a decision-making body. The daily operation of Psy-net is covered by a working group that meets on a regular basis. The steering committee is composed of the heads of service of the student services within the participating institutions, members of the working group, and a chairperson.

The working group is composed of staff from the participating institutions. The working group prepares decisions and reports to the steering committee. The working group is managed by the coordinator who is also the contact person for the external supervisors and partners.

Psycho-social support for students

It is essential to provide a network within which referrals can be made easily. The various student guidance services within the educational institutions play a crucial role in this. These services employ student counselors, psychologists and psychotherapists who are focused on the prevention and treatment of study and psychological problems among students. They have knowledge and expertise about study processes and their interaction with psychological problems, they are familiar with the problems of disabilities, and with the field of study choice and reorientation. They can call on a group of high-quality private psychotherapists and counselors who, preferably, are specialized in a specific problem. These private psychotherapists and counselors provide individual psychotherapy for students, outside the educational institutions involved. The psycho-social counseling program for students is organized according to the principle of stepped care.

Learning network and professionalization

In addition to its referral function, Psy-net is also an expertise center. In order to provide good counseling, it is important to exchange information and expertise smoothly.

The psychological services pay attention to providing quality counseling. The professionalization of the student counselors is mainly taken up internally by the institutions. In addition to this offer, there is an annual review of which initiatives from Psy-net can provide added value for a cross-institutional organization. At the level of Psy-net, events are organized for both the student supervisors and the external therapists/counselors connected to Psy-net. These initiatives are aimed at further strengthening Psy-net as a learning network.