In 1986 human rights activists and mental health workers in Vancouver joined together to support an influx of refugees arriving from armed conflicts in South and Central America. Together, they founded the Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture (VAST), creating what would become Western Canada's refugee mental health hub. Today, VAST works with refugees from more than 100 countries. Our programs and services are offered in more than a dozen languages, including Arabic, Farsi, Ukrainian, Mandarin and Spanish. We support the mental health of refugees who arrive in British Columbia with psychological trauma as a result of torture, political violence and other forms of persecution on the basis of race, religion, gender identity and sexual orientation.
Founded on the conviction that ‘healing is an act of resistance’, for over 35 years VAST has employed a province-leading model of trauma-informed mental health service provision. We do not believe in working alone and our mission supports a range of advocacy and capacity building activities to strengthen BC’s mental health sector for newcomers, and encourage understanding of our work amongst government institutions. VAST is a convener of voices with lived experience of torture and trauma, and an influential advisor to multiple levels of policy makers and practitioners.OPEN POSITIONS
Since 1986, VAST has had hundreds of committed, skillful volunteers helping to bring our mission to life. Below is a short alphabetical list of some of our volunteers. If you have been a volunteer in the past, we would love to hear from you, please reach out to our ED: firstname.lastname@example.org