The Real You Program
Police + Military Services
"Civilian or sworn, everyone adds value and has potential to contribute to our mission for the safety and security of our community… As Chief, its my job to help them understand how they can do that, recognize the work they are doing to contribute and give them the tools and the environment to maximize their contribution’ … In part, that can be accomplished by understanding what members (officers) are facing and investing in their health and wellness… Started in 2011, the Real You program is the first of its kind for a Canadian police service. It focuses on medical, psychological, dietary and fitness components as an approach to attaining healthier lifestyles.”
- Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau
THE REAL YOU PROGRAM
The Real You program is a one-of-a-kind healthcare program revolutionizing the way police + military departments treat and train their personnel.
The Real You program seeks to restore and maintain health and wellness across a first responder's lifespan by understanding the individuals' unique set of circumstances and addressing the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect health. The Real You program employs personalized strategies and uses the most appropriate interventions from an array of scientific, nutrition, exercise-based AND spiritual disciplines (mind training/meditation etc.) to heal illness and disease and help people regain and maintain optimal health.
Chronic disease is the main cause of death and disability in Canada today, and 50-80% of those diseases are preventable.
The Real You is devoted to the prevention of illness and the overall improvement of health for our communities first responders.
"About 70 to 80 per cent of people said the program has had 'significant positive impact on their personal life,’ and ‘About 50 per cent said they had impact on their professional life and their ability to manage stress.’”
- CBC News report: “Ottawa police invest in health project” (November 18, 2011).
The Real You program is founded upon the pillars of
Real health is holistic. Your body, mind, and soul are intrinsically connected. Imbalance in one can lead to imbalance in another. Tending to all three brings you to real health.
Real health exists within you. When you give your body, mind and soul what it needs to heal, then healing happens naturally from within. Real health is your natural state.
Real health is evidence-based. It utilizes the tools and science of modern medicine in combination with the truths and wisdom of natural healing.
Real health is simple. It’s found in food, movement, awareness and expression. It’s found in nature, connecting with people, and connecting with one's truest self.
MENTAL HEALTH +
Mental health issues are a natural consequence of working in the field of law enforcement and finding ways to cope is essential to the safety of both individual officers and the general public they protect.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 1 in 4 police officers has thoughts of suicide at some point in their life, and the suicide rate for police officers is nearly four times higher than the national average. This is because law enforcement officials report much higher rates of depression, PTSD, burnout, and other anxiety related mental conditions compared to the general population.
Traditionally, mental illness is approached from a treatment standpoint – an officer would see a doctor who would then just prescribe a medication. Dr. Amani has challenged the norm. She has revolutionized the way police departments approach mental health and the overall wellness of their members, by moving beyond a prescription pad to treating the emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual components that affect mental health.
Within the Real You first responders are provided with the tools to increase coping strategies and resiliency, and are empowered with the knowledge to regain ownership and leadership of their own health and wellness.
Case Study: The Ottawa Police Service
The Real you Program was the exclusive wellness provider for Ottawa Police Services (OPS) for over 10 years. The focus was on the care of OPS members given the ongoing challenges associated with operational stress injury, mental health concerns, physical health issues and suicide within first responders.
The program ran from 2011-2020, with approximately 800 serving officers and civilians moving through the program.
For the Ottawa Police Service, the benefits of the Real You program have been numerous. An independent external review of the Real You program conducted found that the majority of Real You participants indicated that the Real You program contributed to a healthier workforce, improved attitudes towards health and wellbeing of employees, and led to an improved work/life balance. An excerpt from the report is found below:
2011-2016: To what extent do you agree/disagree that the Real You Program is contributing towards benefits for the OPS? (n=263)
The Real You has made new medical diagnoses in 70% of Program participants, despite the fact that 95% of participants had their own primary caregiver at the time. The most commonly diagnosed conditions during the Real You Program were:
Outcomes at the individual level were numerous and impactful. Through its evaluations, the Real You found individual outcomes in a variety of areas, the majority of which are outlined in the chart below. Presented with the outcomes, which were either captured by medical data, fitness data, or in conversation with the participant, are the impacts of the outcomes. It is important to note that the impacts listed are only a few of the many potential impacts.
“Since starting the program, my relationship with my wife and family has changed for the better...I feel better, I eat better, and more than that I WANT to eat better and exercise. And I’m much more in touch with daily relaxation and focusing on personal and family growth as priorities as opposed to work. But having said this, I have as a result become a better and more productive employee. In addition, my psoriasis, considered moderate by my doctor, has been reduced significantly through less stress to a very manageable level.”
- The Real You Past Participant
"The focus of the program is, and was, to assist in engaging employees on the path to healthy lifestyles. When we started we knew that many would see this as health programming being forced on them, and we faced some minor pushback from the very people we were trying to help. Now, after nine clear years of success in this field, not only have we seen positive effects, we have also gained an entire organization that see the Real You as one of the most satisfactory internalized programs ever. We have seen employees taking onboard each and every segment we have thrown at them, engaging and growing personally and professionally, and within their personal/professional relationships. We are on track to a make a real difference with the Real You and have seen happier employees that are healthier, managing the challenges and difficulties that come with policing. We have, as well, seen police officers and civilian employees taking responsibility for their own lifestyle choices, having been given the tools and knowledge necessary."
- Vernon White, Senator, Senate of Canada, former Ottawa Police Chief
HOW DOES THE REAL YOU PROGRAM BENEFIT YOUR ORGANIZATION?
There are a variety of areas in which the Real You program will offer a positive return on investment for your organization:
• Improved physical and mental health – each health risk factor costs an employer $2,000 per person, each year. The Real You has demonstrated a 65% reduction in risk factors in participants.
• Increased engagement, increased productivity, and reduced absenteeism – approximately 3 in 5 Real You participants reported these changes as a result of participating in the Real You program.
• Reduction in health plan costs – workplace wellness programs allow an average reduction of 26% in health plan costs.
• Workers’ compensation and disability claims – workplace wellness programs show a 32% reduction in these claims.
*For a more detailed/full report please contact us, we'd be happy to share!
The Real You program is dedicated to promoting the health, vitality and well-being of our communities first-responders.
We look forward to collaborating with you to prevent chronic disease and to support and empower our first-responders in thriving.