• The Spirit
  • Antara
  • Services
  • Facilities
  • Doctors
  • Community
  • Institutions

Background

Spirit of Proximity

It was 1970s, when the then Calcutta grew unrest. During the stint of Indo-Pak War, Calcutta saw the birth of a nation. Bangladesh got liberated, and the neighbour; city of Calcutta started having flooded with People in Exile, from the erstwhile East Pakistan. When the misery was snatching the souls, the up roaring political climate added fissures on the fractures. It was a maddening time, when torment and agony forced many to mislay their sanity and wander hopelessly in a life of nothingness.

This was a common sight in every corner of the streets of Calcutta. Unable to bear the pain towards humanity, some kind and concerned souls shouted for Revolution in Compassion. The plight of the lonely and misled souls evoked the bond of heart and aspired to serve the troubled minds. This altruistic gesture was steered by those few good souls, who founded Antara – a humble effort to provide shelter to the destitute and troubled ones.

Dr. Satrujit Dasgupta, Dr. R. B. Davis, Mr. P. M. John, and Bro. Andrew and Blessed Mother Teresa herself from Missionaries of charity, Calcutta started the Antara Society with the primary objective to provide care, treatment, and rehabilitation to the destitute and persons suffering from mental disorders including substance abuse and alcoholism.

The very first step towards achieving the objectives of Antara was taken in the year 1971, with the commencement of the Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic at Janata Medical Service - Mar Thomas Church Centre. For four long decades, the joint venture with Mar Thomas Church continued to serve the impoverished psychiatric patients of the city. In 1972, a building was rented at Picnic Gardens, and residential treatment and care for the destitute finally started in collaboration with the Compassionate Brothers of Missionaries of Charity.

The home tendered their services until 1982. However, anticipating the need for more spacious premises, a two acre plot of land was purchased at Hariharpur Village close to Baruipur, southern fringes of Kolkata - in December 1979. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta laid the foundation stone for the Antaragram project in May 1980. This is a concept; where the group of founder introduced the method of occupational therapy, to keep the troubled minds engaged in order to establish the personality of the mentally disturbed, substance addicts, and the destitute by transforming their state of abnormality to normalcy.

The Antara Society raised a revolution to protect any person, who is mentally isolated from the society, and finally shifted the patients from the Picnic Gardens home to Antaragram in June 1982. Today, Antaragram has blossomed into a well-organised Scientific Institution with necessary infrastructure and facilities, such as Residential Treatment Centres, Occupational Therapy and Vocational Training Units, Outpatient Departments, Library and Reading Room, Residential Staff Quarters, Recreation Centres, Community Kitchen to name a few.


Antara - The Genesis

The ever-increasing complexities of modern life are creating more problems for the human mind than it can cope with. Mental illness, including addiction and alcoholism, is assuming greater proportions as challenging social problems. Antara is a response to this challenge. It strives to extend a helping hand to the mentally-distressed in ways more than one.

Guiding philosophy

The word Antara simply means ‘heart’, although the literal translation signifies ‘something from the core of one’s inner self where the brain and heart function together for a cause’
All those who are a part of the Antara Community have responded to a call from their inner selves, coming together to work with a deep commitment to fulfill the vision seen thirty eight years ago by the founders of Antara.

Objectives
(As laid down in the Memorandum of Association)

  • To run a voluntary association of social workers and psychiatrists for the purpose of assisting, rehabilitating and treating the mentally disturbed...irrespective of caste, colour or creed.
  • To provide outdoor, indoor and domiciliary treatment to the mentally ill, including alcoholics and drug addicts.
  • To conduct research and training for the development of the healing of the mentally ill.
  • To establish in Kolkata and elsewhere centres and branches for expansion of the activities of the association

Services

Behold, Service is Joy

Antara is a shelter, with comprehensive care, and rehabilitation services and facilities for adults and children suffering from psychiatric disorders and substance abuse. Antara also has the specialized geriatric care service for senior citizens. Antara’s 200-bed psychiatric hospital, licensed under the Mental Health Act, 1987, makes it the largest private hospital in Eastern India for psychiatric treatment. In nutshell, the services tendered by the Antara Society are - Psychiatric inpatient treatment and rehabilitation through pharmaco-therapy, psychotherapy, occupational and aesthetic therapy, Psychiatric and general medical outpatient consultation, medication, counseling and guidance services, Community mental health outreach through satellite clinics in rural areas, and Education and training in various mental health domains in schools and the community.

In-depth, the four critical services offered by Antara

  1. Primary intervention programmes
    Here, the troubled and destitute are offered with the medical and social aids. Over all medical attention to evolution of mind is taken care of – by the means of education, personality development, and intensive care and guidance.
    • General Medical Clinic
    • Community Education
    • Child Guidance Services
    • CBMHP
    • Counselling & Guidance Services
  2. Secondary prevention programmes
    This service unit is dedicated to a large volume of mass, including in and out patient, clients affected with substance abuse, and the psychiatry treatment for child, adult, and the aged ones.
    • Outdoor clinics
    • Indoor hospital
    • Chemical Dependency Unit
    • Adult psychiatry Unit
    • Child Psychiatry Unit
    • Geriatric Psychiatric Unit
  3. Tertiary prevention programmes
    This a program that includes wide range facilities as services, starting from housing to treatments, rehabilitation, general care, and mental support.
    • Apartment Scheme
    • Group Homes
    • White-Cross Bari Home for the Homeless
    • Day Treatment Unit
    • Rehabilitation Programmes
    • Care & Support Programmes
    • Home for Mentally -Retarded
  4. Research programmes
    This is the service that operates like a project, where a holistic improvement is the primary objective. It covers the betterment of the treatment process, and information to both the staffs and clients.
    • Mental Health Research Projects
    • Library & Reading Room
    • Internet Facilities

Out Patient Departments

The Antara Round Table Medicare Centre, open Mondays to Saturdays from 9 am to 5 pm extends the following services:

Psychiatric Departments

  • Adult psychiatry
  • Child psychiatry
  • Chemical Dependency
  • Geriatric Clinic

Other Outpatient Services

  • Counselling and Guidance Clinic
  • Pathology Laboratory
  • Dispensary
  • General Medical Clinic

Wards

Adult Acute psychiatric problems

  • The Cathedral Relief Service Ward for men
    (38 beds)
  • The Armenian Church Ward for Women
    (36 beds)

Adult Rehabilitation

  • The Missionaries of Charity Ward for Men
    (30 beds)
  • The ICCO Ward for Women
    (30 beds)

Chemical Dependency (Adults )

  • The Mar Thoma Church Ward
    (40 beds)

Children

  • Friends of Antara Ward
    (16 beds)

Other Therapeutic Departments

During the course of the illness, patients generally lose confidence in things that they used to do and find day to day activities difficult for a variety of reasons. During the recovery phase, occupational and aesthetic therapy helps in improving their ability to look after themselves, take part in community activities and productive work.

  • Psychotherapy and Guidance
  • Occupational Therapy Unit
  • Aesthetic Therapy Unit
  • Day Care Centre for recovering persons

Group Home

The parents or close relatives of some of the patients who are under the care and treatment of Antara for a long time, had a nagging fear about what will happen to their wards after their death. They kept on pleading with Antara to make some long term arrangement so that their wards will continue to receive Antara”s loving care and treatment even when the parents are no more alive.

To meet this need, Antara has established Group Homes for Men & Women at Antaragram. The parents contribute required funds for the upkeep of the Homes.

The Antara Products Shop

The items produced in the Occupational Therapy units are well known as Antara Products – and are sold through the shop on the premises.

Library

The Antara Library had a very modest beginning and since has expanded into a rich collection of academic and non-academic books and periodicals.

  • There is a good collection of fiction that has grown over the years.
  • The library contains books covering various subjects including Clinical psychiatry, Social work, Psychology, Nursing care, Gender, Law and other social issues
  • A number of national and international journals and bulletins in English and Bengali
  • Subscribes to a number of leading newspapers and popular magazines in different languages
  • Has developed an electronic archive of important news clippings on issues related to mental health

Library Rules

  • The library is open on all working days from 9.00 am to 5. pm
  • Caters to all residential / non residential staff, patients and visitors.
  • Books are available on a reading lending basis
  • Internet facilities are available to all residents and staff members during library hours

Community Mental Health Unit

Objectives

  • Promotion of mental health in schools and community
  • Prevention of psychiatric disorders
  • Support of needy psychiatric patients and families in the community

These objectives are achieved through the following activities

Prevention programmes

  • Conducting awareness generation activities like distribution of information leaflets, holding seminars, workshops, campaigns among school children, participation in fairs, spreading awareness through the media and other means.
  • Conducting Epidemiological surveys
  • Life skill Training sessions

Detection Camps

  • Conducting camps to detect and identify persons with mental health problems
  • Child guidance camps
  • Camps to identify persons with drug and alcohol dependency
  • Referral services
  • Orientation programs for health workers, teachers and community workers

Care and Support Programmes

  • Activities to ensure effective follow-up and continuity of care
  • Tracing drop-out cases and motivating them to continue treatment
  • Advocacy for mental health issues
  • Community Case Management service to help needy patients survive
  • Training of community volunteers

Projects & Programmes

Care & Support Programme

Inaugurated on 2nd February 2008, this is a pilot project with 12 very needy psychiatric patients from villages around Antaragram providing them with almost free Outpatient and Inpatient facilities

  • The patients will be provided psychiatric consultations and medicines free of charge.
  • Antara’s social workers and trainee professionals will regularly visit them in the community to enquire about the well being and arrange and provide necessary support for survival.
  • Community based care & support is being arranged to these patients and their families.

Antara is looking for sponsors for each person enlisted in the Care and Support Programme

If you want to help contact us at…

Community Health Outreach

In addition to the services in the Mental Health area, Antara promotes health services in the local village communities through:

  • Programmes for awareness of personal hygiene, environmental sanitation and use of safe drinking water.
  • Mobilization of local resources

Programmes & Projects

  • Local Health Improvement Scheme
    Inaugurated on 2nd February 2008, this Scheme extends almost free medical care to the needy families in the neighbourhood of Antaragram

School Outreach

Antara extends its activities to students in schools and colleges in Kolkata, Howrah and the 24 - Parganas Districts.

Antara encourages educational institutions to visit the facilities and take part in its many programmes. Students from schools and colleges in Kolkata, Howrah and the 24 Parganas districts regularly visit Antara and participate in awareness events, sponsor fundraising walks and work in the occupational therapy units.

To arrange a visit for your school

Contact
At least 7 days before you want to visit
Schools have to arrange their own conveyance.
Number of participants Optimum number of participants is 25.

Time of visit:
The team must reach Antara by 9.30 am (by 10.00 am at the latest). They can leave Antara by 1.00 pm.

Awareness Generation Visit
Antara invites all schools and colleges to send their students to visit the Antara facilities at Antaragram for exposure to managed psychiatric care. Need
Today’s children are subject to pressures that no child in previous generations had to bear. As a result there is an up-surge in mental health problems in children. Also the ever-present danger of drug abuse

Objectives

  • In keeping with the adage, ‘ prevention is better than cure’ - By their participation in this, students get fist hand information about mental health, mental illness and dangers of substance abuse. This visit has been designed in such a way that it will both educate and entertain the participants.
  • Removal of stigma of mental illness
  • Generation of community awareness

Entertainment

  • Visiting schools are encouraged to present a few cultural items for the inmates of Antara. This, however, is optional.
  • In return, certain items from the side of our inmates will also be staged.

Sponsored Walk to support Antara.

Students can support Antara in its mission for the mentally ill, substance addicted persons and children who need mental health assistance.

Antara is a Charitable Organization that does not receive any regular financial support from govt. or foreign funding agency for the treatment and rehabilitation of the hundreds of mentally disturbed and drug addicted men and women of our society, free of cost for destitute patients and at a highly subsidized rate for the others. So Antara has to find out income to meet the huge expenses of running the Institution.

In this, Antara can be supported by many of the Schools in Kolkata and neighbouring districts.

SUPW Support for schools

Antara facilitates students’ visit and assignments as part of the SUPW (Socially Useful Productive Work) project of schools in Kolkata and neighbouring districts The general structure of our programme is as follows

  • Students will be assigned some productive work in our Therapeutic Units. This will be time-bound, i.e., 1–1½ hrs to complete something meaningfully.
  • Students are also encouraged to come prepared to present cultural items for those undergoing treatment.
  • If a School can convey and discuss their plan of visit a few weeks earlier with us, Antara will try to arrange a Technical Session /Question-answer Session related to mental health.

Facilities

The Antaraprocess

With the passion of the Missionary and its continuous endeavour to deliver more effective services, Antara lives in the Antaraprocess of continuous development. With this, Antara makes it a preferred destination for the treatment of psychiatric and other medical maladies. It has received numerous expressions of interest, from qualified and experienced medical practitioners, both from India and abroad.

Inpatient Treatment Facilities:

  • Cathedral Relief Service Ward for Acutely Ill Men (38 beds)
  • Armenian Church Ward for Acutely Ill Women (36 beds)
  • Missionaries of Charity Ward for Sub-Acute Patients(Men) (36 beds)
  • ICCO Ward for Sub-Acute Patients(Women) (30 beds)
  • Mar Thomas Church Ward for Dependency Treatment (With Bed facility)
  • Friends of Antara– U.K. Ward for Children (With Bed facility)
  • LIC Ward (With Bed facility)

Rehabilitation Programmes:

Residential Rehabilitation Unit: This has the facility of 14 beds, and is the part of Group Home for Men.

Antara Group Homes: Two model homes are maintained at Antaragram, accommodating 17 residents in the Group Home for Women, and 18 residents in the Group Home for Men.

Antara White Cross Bari: A home for the homeless and mentally challenged persons, which is currently accommodating 6 male and 8 female residents in a homely atmosphere in this Centre. They participate in the various activities of the home, including the maintenance of a kitchen garden as well. Out Patient Services

Child Guidance Clinic: Children below 16, suffering from childhood mental health problems receive counselling and treatment through a clinic that operates 3 days a week. More than 2100 children have benefited from this programme in 2011-12.

Adult Psychiatry OPD: Open six days a week, this service has proved to be immensely popular in catering to the mentally ill from not only the vicinity of Antaragram but all over the state. A round-the-clock emergency service is available in case of need. More than 28,000 patients have availed the services of this department in 2011-12.

Geriatric Psychiatry OPD: Open 2 days in a week, this is a special service made available for the convenience of aged psychiatric patients who report to the Adult Psychiatric OPD. A hand-picked team comprising a psychiatrist, a clinical psychologist and a social worker specially sensitized to geriatric perspectives attend to the patients.

Chemical Dependency (Detoxification) OPD: This service caters to patients with substance abuse that are often caused by multiple factors, including genetic vulnerability, environmental stressors, social pressures, individual personality characteristics, and psychiatric problems. This twice-a-week clinic also helps to identify patients that may require more intensive treatment in the Indoor Chemical Dependency Ward.

General Medical OPD: Patients from far and near, including psychiatric patients and their relatives suffering from various general (non-psychiatric) illnesses, attend this clinic that is open on Mondays to Saturdays.

Local Health Improvement Scheme: Antara strives to deliver medical consultation and medicines to those living below the poverty line at extremely nominal rates. Now this scheme shelters more than 650 families from the villages in the vicinity of Antaragram, who are able, and receive medical assistance on payment of a token amount of Rs10/- per visit.

Counselling & Guidance Clinic: Patients requiring psychological counselling on an outpatient basis, attend this clinic to receive individual counselling, family counselling, IQ tests, relaxation therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy and various other psychological interventions.

Dispensary: Psychiatric medicines as well as general medical medicines are dispensed at significantly lower than MRP rates. Up to 25% of the patients receive free / subsidized treatment and medicines.

Pathology Sample Collection Centre: An arrangement with M/s Serrum Laboratories makes possible economical pathology tests and investigations for patients being treated at Antara. A sample collection facility at Antara collects large number of samples for forwarding to the diagnostic laboratory.

Satellite Clinics: Distance and expense incurred on transportation are reasons for a large number of patient dropouts from follow-up treatment. To counter this problem a number of satellite clinics have been operationalized:

  • Janata Medical Service (Mar Thoma Church) – Kolkata
  • Nabojibon (Missionaries of Charity Centre) – Noorpur
  • St. Gabriel’s Boys’ Hostel (CNI Church) – Port Canning
  • Antara White Cross Bari – Gazipur

Non-Residential Programmes

Targeted Personal Growth & Development Unit: Individual counselling, group counselling, family counselling &education, and group activities like drama, mime, discussions, debates, cultural programmes, social outings, etc. are arranged for the attending patients who stay at their homes and attend the programme from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Community Mental Health Unit: Various programmes for the promotion of mental health, prevention of psychiatric disorders, and ensuring survival of the needy psychiatric patients and their family members are implemented by this unit. Students of nursing and those undergoing masters in psychiatric nursing take active part in visiting the families of patients and in conducting the awareness programmes. The activities include:

  • Awareness Generation Programmes
  • Epidemiological Surveys
  • School Mental Health Programmes
  • Detection & Referral Camps
  • Care & Support Programme

Training & Orientation Programmes
A one-year certificate course in psychiatric care-giving is conducted by ANTARA to train young men and women to look after mentally ill persons. Most of the successful candidates are absorbed as ward assistants at Antaragram.

Vocational Training Programmes
Focussed on imparting computer and information technology training to the recovering psychiatric patients and chemical-dependency patients, the programme also accommodates students from the local community as well as staff of Antara. The Certificate in Computer Operation Course is recognised by the Dept. of Adult Continuing Education & Extension, Jadavpur University.

Library & Reading Room
A library has been established to house the ever-expanding collection of books mental health, addiction, psychiatry, psychology, social Work, nursing and related topics. The reading room as well as the Internet facilities are proving to be very popular with the patients, staff as well as students at Antara.

Aesthetic Therapy Unit
Music and dance, as modes of therapy, are being employed with great success at Antara. The recovering patients, especially the residents of the Group Homes, enthusiastically participate in the training sessions and workshops conducted on Saturdays.The highlight is the annual programme presented in memory of Kalamandalam Guru Govindankutty, who inaugurated the Unit but succumbed to cancer at Antara.

“Antarapossesses” a full complement of trained staff for the treatment of patients This includes:

  • Psychiatrists (including part-timers) (10)
  • Medical Officers (4)
  • Resident Medical Superintendent (1)
  • Staff Nurses (30)
  • Clinical Psychologists (4)
  • Social Workers (7)
  • Ward-in-Charges (10)
  • Ward Assistants (122)
  • Administrative Staff (10)

Doctors

Medical Superintendent:

  • Dr. Bijoy Jacob, MBBS, PGCHM

Psychiatrists:

  • Dr. Payel Roy, DPM
  • Dr. Bhaskar Mukherjee, MD (Psych.)
  • Dr. Ujjaini Srimani, MD (Psych.)
  • Dr. Dipankar Banerjee, DPM
  • Dr. Debjani Das, FRCPsych
  • Dr. Anjan Boral, DPM
  • Dr. Sanhita Bhattacharyya, DPM
  • Dr. Malabika Maity, DPM
  • Dr. Subhendu Datta, DPM, MD (Psych.)

Medical Officers:

  • Dr. Sapna Jha, MBBS, MPH
  • Dr. Abhijit Debnath, MBBS
  • Dr. Sushanta Ganguly, MBBS
  • Dr. Niladri Mukherjee, MBBS

Psychologists:

  • Indrani Chakraborty, M.Phil (Chief Psychologist)
  • Shreya Das, M.A.
  • Anwesha Bhattacharyya, M.A.
  • Piyali Maity, M.A.
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500+

Mentally Challenged Patients

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