The 888 Collective was founded in August 2017 by Jana Dowling as a direct response to her personal experience with mental health issues. In November of 2016, Jana suddenly had to leave work due to a severe depressive episode. She was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and found herself unable to get out of bed resulting in a 24 hour watch as a high risk suicide patient.
The road to recovery was challenging, even with support from friends and family. She began a course of medication and tasks such as leaving the house, having a shower, using her phone and talking to people were no longer simple. As soon as she felt ready, she began looking for work and found herself in another confronting situation. What job would suit her? What should she tell her interviewer? Would she be hired if she was honest about why she had taken 4 months off work? What if she became ill again?
On hearing these fears, a close friend Kirsty Hulse, owner of Manyminds digital agency, created a P.A position for her. The leniency and support Kirsty gave during this time was invaluable and enabled Jana to create a life/work plan that suited her mental and physical wellbeing. Once able to work as a Producer/Director again, Jana looked to build her career outside of Manyminds. Knowing how extraordinary her experience was to have been given a job in a company that understood her mental health issues, and gave her the time and consideration she needed, she decided to create The 888 Collective to pay it forward and offer the same opportunity for the numerous people out there who need it. Jana’s unique perspective as someone whose mental health declined at work and her experience with regaining control and managing her mental health issues in a competitive work environment allows her to have an understanding from both sides of the table.
“Having always enjoyed being part of a company I struggled when I had to take time off for my mental health. The step from being unemployed and unwell to being back in a full and competitive working environment is vast. I know that by educating people in the work environment we will have a greater chance of preventing serious mental health deterioration in the workplace and a workforce that is confident and comfortable enough to support people with mental health issues as they reenter or enter a working environment.” – Jana Dowling.
Having worked as a producer in Live TV, Fashion Publishing and with experience as a Stand Up Comedian Jana is an engaging, honest and confident public speaker. She manages to tackle this tough subject matter with a light heart.
Check out Jana's interview with London Live where she discusses why The 888 Collective is needed.