For the past six years, Noaz Asbroek and Maartje Harms, both in their early twenties, have been running the social media channel Zaressa. Zaressa started as a YouTube channel focused on horses and the life of equestrians, much like any other “Horse channel”.
This focus and the life of Noaz and Maartje changed in 2019 after Noaz got admitted into a mental health clinic. Many followers did not know about Noaz’s situation, and the pair felt it needed to change. Since the switch, Zaressa is not your everyday “Horse channel” anymore. It became a “platform where (controversial) social issues, such as mental health, get center stage. All still with a hint of horses”
Before 2019, Zaressa was a platform with two faces: online and offline. Online, the pair made funny videos about and with horses, all with the biggest smiles and jokes, however, this was all an act. They did not dare to show their true faces because they felt ashamed of their real-life struggles. In their offline world, they were dealing with burn-out symptoms, trauma, and depression. They both left school and, because of a mental health crisis, Noaz got admitted into the mental health clinic.
Being with their horses became the only time when they could get some relief from their everyday struggle.
The Social Message
The duo broke through their shame when they decided to open up about their real story. After the open-up, they got tons of messages of support, and they immediately knew that they were not alone in their struggles and certainly were not the only ones that were dealing with their mental health.
Their horses, Contessa and Ikita, still feature a lot on their channel, but they became a means to deliver messages about social problems. All of their videos have a social message in mind and have a lot of tips about taking care of your mental health by sharing their own experiences. Not just mental health is touched upon, they shine a light onto anything that you might come across in your daily life and hope to help others getting through obstacles they might come across.
Mental Health Month
Throughout October, the Zaressa Instagram account will be centered around Mental Health Month. The Dutch Secretary of Public Health kick-started the Mental Health Month in typical hilarious fashion on the Zaressa channel, after which the video continues with footage of their meeting with her majesty the queen Maxima from the Netherlands, who is a big advocate for mental health.
All throughout October, the channel will be filled with take-overs by others, some with their own unique stories about mental health or professionals who will give useful tips. Noaz and Maartje themselves will go even further in their open-up. “It seems like we have been open before, but this month we will show an even more vulnerable side of ourselves”.
The pair want to make a big statement to get more awareness for mental health among the younger generations. To achieve this, they will be present in several other media and have several conversations with government policymakers with the message “everyone deserves to be heard”.