Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture (VAST)

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.


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 counseling is delivered by experienced clinicians in-person and online. Individual counseling 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 counseling in a 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

Psychological 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.

Group support

We provide trauma-focused psychological counselling in one-on-one. Psycho-education, emotion self-regulation, and information sharing prepare clients for the refugee claim and settlement process.

Art-making in Community

Beyond Borders and Bynaries

Getting Through It

Cultural Broker Certification Program. Focus on Afghanistan

Move and Relax

Welcome to VAST


Frequent answers and questions

Supporting people in mental health requires specific knowledge.