We assist refugees and other newcomers who have endured torture, trauma and political violence through counselling, documentation, education and referrals.DONATE
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.
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.
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.
Upon a lawyer's request, qualified mental health and medical professionals produce assessment letters. The documentation is provided only upon careful consultation with clients.
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.SEE MORE
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.
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.
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.
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.