What I do...
Jana Dowling is the founder of The 888 Collective, a social enterprise described as the “badass of mental health” that supports and creates work opportunities for people with mental health issues. Jana set up The 888 Collective in 2017, after experiencing dif culties with her own mental wellbeing. “I wasn’t diagnosed with bipolar disorder until I was 33, but looking back at my CV you can literally see it in there,” she explains. “I’d worked in live television and fashion publishing, as a presenter, an actress. At one point I was doing stand up. I never really understood myself or where I belonged.”
After her diagnosis, recovery began. “As I started to get better, I wanted to nd a job again, but I became very anxious. ‘Could I still work? What could I do? Who would hire me? Would I become ill again?’ It was an endless stream of worry,” she remembers. “A friend of mine could see that I needed help, so she offered me a job as a PA. I can 100% say I was the worst PA in the world! But she supported me and treated me like I was capable. That opportunity made it possible for me to get back into full-time work. I wanted to pay it forward and help others in the same position.”
Now, through The 888 Collective, Jana runs mental health management courses for those looking to get back into the work environment and offers course members and graduates (‘88M8s’ or ‘88Mates’) work opportunities afterwards. “The biggest success is when we see people taking positive actions to manage their mental wellbeing,” she says.
What advice would she give to people who are currently struggling? “Track your sleep, medication and food intake,” she says. “You’ll be surprised at the connections between them. If you can create a clear picture of yourself, it will help you to get the right support and better manage your mental health.” Find out more about The 888 Collective, including their upcoming app, online at www.the888collective.com
“IT’S ABOUT EMPOWERING OTHERS TO TAKE POSITIVE ACTION AND CONTROL OF
THEIR MENTAL HEALTH”