After depression, a psychosis, an addiction and hiding himself in the house for five years, Erik (50 ) nowhere else. “I was very depressed. When I hit the bottom, the switch turned,” says Erik. After years of isolation, a world opened up for him.

Reluctantly, Erik crossed the threshold of Ixta Noa. “I came in very insecure, but now I feel much better. I became a volunteer and I feel like I matter again,” says Erik. Many people, like Erik, cannot participate properly in society due to psychological complaints. More than 50% of the Dutch population will have to deal with it in their lives. Unfortunately, getting professional care quickly is not always obvious. Ixta Noa is also there for people who are already looking for a listening ear, without waiting lists.

The Ixta Noa Foundation supports people with social and psychological vulnerabilities in various places in the Netherlands. They receive help from experience experts, employees and volunteers who have gone through the same thing. With the help of many volunteers, they ensure that people are not alone. They offer a listening ear and can help someone further, so that their joy in life comes back.

As a volunteer I come back among people. I help the participants, but I also get help myself. I feel like I matter again.

Totally different life

Erik has a completely different life compared to four years ago. Through therapy, Erik discovered that he has to do something with people and share his experiences. “As a volunteer I get back among the people. The work gives me energy and I have a goal. I help the participants, but I also get help myself. Ixta Noa has become part of my life and I really feel at home here,” says Erik.

Coordinator Denise understands Erik exactly. She herself entered a location in Zutphen when she was twenty when things were going very badly for her. “I had an eating disorder and was afraid of regular help. Here, an experience expert first told her story. This woman had lived through it and she was happy again. The recognition and acknowledgment was so valuable. That really changed everything for me,” says Denise. “You can get in here before it’s too late. Before you sit at home for five years and end up in a psychosis or so underweight that you almost die, like me. This is where you can go if you’re not sure, because everyone deserves to get good support.”

No more nightmares

There are several practice houses of Ixta Noa: in Enschede, Zutphen, Nijmegen, Harderwijk, Groningen, Westerkwartier and Leeuwarden people can walk in at Ixta Noa without an appointment . In addition to low-threshold walk-in and individual guidance, there are activities that help with recovery, such as theme meetings, self-help groups and courses.

In Nijmegen, Zutphen, Groningen and Enschede you can also stay in the Respite House, to catch your breath when everything gets too much. Both Erik and Denise helped set up the practice house in Enschede thirteen years ago. Denise: “Picking up a brush already led to a panic attack for Erik. Still, he persevered. After five days of painting, he no longer had nightmares. I am so proud of him.”

Fetch, bring, pass on

Denise gets sometimes the question is whether she finds her work hard, but that is not the case. “I think it’s a very special job. Here you are more than your diagnosis or vulnerability. It’s crazy to see someone go through the growth that I also went through. Pick up, bring, pass on. That’s what we say here and it really is.”

Participation in Herstel Dichtbij, a program of Oranje Fonds and MIND, gives the foundation the opportunity to further develop itself. Denise explains: “Thanks to the financial support, we can purchase new software for the e-learning that is part of the Ixta Noa Training. It’s nice that the value of our work is being recognized. In 50 we even received an Appeltje van Oranje. The Oranje Fonds awards it to, in their words, ‘exceptional social initiatives that matter to people in our society’. That felt like recognition.”

Here you are more than your diagnosis or vulnerability. It’s awesome to see someone go through the growth I’ve gone through.

About the Oranje Fonds

The Oranje Fonds believes that everyone matters. That is why the Fund is committed to a society in which everyone can participate and no one is left alone. In other words, an engaged society; in which we care for each other, people have equal opportunities and feel connected to others in the neighbourhood. Together with social initiators. They are committed to people affected by poverty, exclusion, loneliness and psychological vulnerability. They are there for others, so the Oranje Fonds is there for them. To strengthen and connect them. Based on the conviction that we have to do it together, the fund also works with various partners. In this way, forces are combined and bridges are built between people and organisations. So that everyone can matter to someone else. Discover how you can make a difference at

See also the video about Erik below >


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