What We Do
INDIVIDUAL COUNSELING & GROUP SUPPORT
We provide trauma-focused psychological counseling for refugees in one-on-one and group settings. We use psycho-education, emotion self-regulation, and information sharing to prepare our clients for the short-term refugee claim and long-term settlement processes.
SUPPORT WITH DOCUMENTATION
We provide documentation of evidence of psychological trauma for the refugee claim process. We work with our clients (and their lawyers) to document symptoms of psychological trauma to support their refugee claim.
COMMUNITY BUILDING & REFERRALS
We provide referrals to health, housing, and settlement services. We work with our community partners in the health and social services sectors to create a network to support our clients’ basic needs.
CAPACITY BUILDING AND EDUCATION
We provide training and professional development workshops on refugee mental health for health and social service providers, and students of allied health programs. We work on local and national committees to advance the rights of refugees and access to mental health services.
Voices Against Torture
A semi-annual journal interdisciplinary journal and an organic extension of VAST’s education, advocacy, and community-building mandate. VAT aims to further lift the voices of torture survivors to support resilience and dignity.
Thank you for the support of our funders
The VAST journey
In 1986, a small group of human rights activists and mental health workers gathered in Vancouver to support the flood of refugees arriving from the armed conflicts in Central America. They founded the Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture (“VAST”) in October of that year, and this dedicated group of volunteers built what would become BC’s largest centre for refugee mental health. Today, VAST works with refugees from over 100 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Our programs and services are offered in over a dozen languages, including Arabic, Farsi, French, 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.
We work with refugees from over 100 countries
We run close to 100 support groups annually.
We run at least 30 training sessions annually with other refugee serving organisation.
We provide an average of 43 individual counselling sessions each week.