Life experience is the key to success for FamilySmart non-profit

Co-founder of Mental Health Week tells the her story of heartbreak and determination

Child and Youth Mental Health Day, which is May 7, was born from heartbreak, and the determination to not let history repeat itself.

Keli Anderson founded FamilySmart18 years ago after meeting another mom who lost her teenage son to suicide. Anderson’s son, who has bipolar had just come out of the hospital himself at 10-years-old and she was determined to ensure her son’s life was not cut short as well.

Related: Hundreds of Kelowna youth have been helped by Foundry Kelowna

The non-profit is a unique organization that supports parents and families in B.C. with 34 of 36 employees whose children or youth have struggled with mental health and/or substance use challenges. This approach gives families that are dealing with mental health challenges unique advice and a perspective into how to navigate through struggles.

“We need to have a strong infrastructure to do this kind of work, we have built it based on experience,”Anderson said.

Related:Kelowna walk raises awareness for youth mental health

Anderson is still motivated to ensure that no one feels as alone in their struggle as she did when her son was growing up.

“I think one of the greatest things when you are doing this kind of work is, that there’s this chance that you get to be humbled by something that is bigger for you. For me, in this work every day is humbling. I know from our own family how hard it was but I also appreciate that families don’t have to be alone the way I felt 20 years ago,” Anderson said.

Related:Mental health clinic opens in downtown Kelowna

Anderson’s son is now 30 and leads a full life, but she has no desire to slow down in her work. Previous clients return to later be a part of the program in a different way and become leaders for other families in need.

For more information visit FamilySmart’s website.

To report a typo, email:


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Apples the star fruit of the Kelowna farmer’s market

The second annual Apple Festival was held this morning

UPDATED: Team Canada moves into gold finals at World Mixed Curling Championship

The curling championships are being held at the Kelowna Curling Club

Hiker injured on mountain near Peachland

A hiker was rescued this morning

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Watch it again: Kelowna mayoral candidates square off

Missing the LIVE Kelowna mayoral debate watch now

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

Letter: Get the facts on homeless in Kelowna

During the Journey Home process, all task force members agreed the strategy must be evidence based

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Letter: Get the facts on cannabis legalization for our kids

“Safe kids” are necessarily safe when pot is legalized

Letter: Climate change responses should matter the most in voter’s decision

In Kelowna, candidates answered a climate change question from the Capital News

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Most Read