What I do...

In the Moment - - Good News -

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



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