Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture - VAST

We assist refugees and other newcomers who have endured torture, trauma and political violence through counselling, documentation, education and referrals.



How VAST can help you

VAST was established over 35 years ago with significant collaboration from members of the community of survivors of war and torture. Our services originated from and remain dedicated to the mental health needs of newcomers. As VAST has grown throughout our lifetime, we have centred our practice on survivor-led and survivor responsive services as well as evidence-based practice.

By Toa Heftiba to Unsplash

Individual Counselling

VAST one-on-one counselling is delivered by experienced clinicians in-person and online. Individual counselling is available in English, Spanish and Farsi additionally interpretation is available in 23 languages.

By Priscilla du Preez to Unsplash

Group Support

VAST provides trauma-focused psychological group counselling in hybrid mode. Psycho-education, emotional self-regulation and information sharing prepare VAST clients for the short-term refugee claim and long-term settlement processes.

By Vadim Bozhko to Unsplash

Psycholegal Documentation

Upon a lawyer's request, qualified mental health and medical professionals produce assessment letters. The documentation is provided only upon careful consultation with clients.


How VAST can support your organization

VAST is British Columbia's largest centre for refugee mental health. We are committed to supporting our training partners as we grow the capacity of the refugee-serving sector in the province. We offer training and professional development workshops on refugee mental health and recovery from torture and trauma for health, education, social service providers, law firms and practicum students.



How VAST supports locally and globally

VAST is a member of local, provincial, national and international committees to advocate the rights of refugees and access to mental health support.


VAST multidisciplinary educational collection

You can access VAST resources (toolkits, news, websites, books, articles and videos) related to torture, trauma and human rights with a focus on education, documentation, rehabilitation, healing and community building among survivors.

By Toa Heftiba to Unsplash

Healing from trauma

Resources focused on group and individual healing and mental health services for those who have been forcibly displaced and/or persecuted, and who present with psychological trauma resulting from this.

By Priscilla du Preez to Unsplash

Settling in Canada

While VAST does not provide settlement services, we are well-networked with a range of trusted partner organisations who do. These resources contain helpful information about support services for settlement and resettlement.

By Vadim Bozhko to Unsplash

Immigration and Refugee Claims Process

Information for new arrivals and newcomers to Canada, including those who are on work permits and those who are going through the refugee claim (asylum) process.

visit the research & knowledge center

Voices Against Torture Journal (VAT)

Our interdisciplinary journal and an organic extension of VAST's education, advocacy, and community-building mandate has its website as a repository of research about mental health, available for the community.