The Rebirth

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Have you ever seen anyone who has born twice in a lifetime? No, I am not talking about any magic or spiritual miracle but of an incident that make me feel happy and content of being a part of an Organization that makes a difference in many people’s lives. Today I came to know about a person who believes that he has born twice and he celebrates his Rebirth at Antara Psychiatric Hospital & Rehabilitation Centre every year.

Few years back in the month of June, he got admitted at Antara’s Addiction Ward and from that day his life took a turning point.  Slowly he got over his addiction and started a new life. So according to him it was his rebirth.

When he was in addiction he almost lost everything- his career, family, financial status, health, etc.  He regained all these after gaining sobriety over addiction. He is now running his own business and leading a happy and successful life.

So each year on a special date of June (the day he got admitted to Antara) he comes to ANTARA  to celebrate his Rebirth and he share his experience with the inmates currently undergoing treatment  in the Addiction Unit.

If you or your loved one is suffering from drug addiction, do seek help because recovery is possible. Just step forward and seek help because life is not meant to be spent on addiction.

Are you a recovering addict? Have you recovered from addiction? You can share your story with us. We need people who can inspire others to quit addiction.

What’s your story? If you want your story of recovery to be uploaded in our blog, then mail us at-

Our team will review your story and if it got approved, we will post it in our blog. If you don’t want to disclose your identity, we will maintain confidentiality for sure.


This blog has been Written by-
Ms. Shatabdi Datta
 *Disclaimer:- The opinion expressed in the blog is the opinion of the writer & not necessarily the opinion of ANTARA Organization.

Are you planning to have a baby?


Are you planning to have a baby?

Make sure you are not affecting your fertility potential and the chances of having a healthy baby by smoking tobacco. If you are a smoker, you are decreasing the chances of being a father/mother by yourself. Tobacco consumption damages the reproduction system and causes infertility.

Now-a-days smoking has become trend for both men and women. Men who smoke have lower sperm count, on the other hand women who smoke have the higher risk of early menopause and a significant lower rate of fertility potential. So if you are trying to conceive, stop smoking right away and try to keep the smokers away from you.

If you are married for long and willing to become a father but this is not happening, you may count your act of smoking as a reason of that.

Why should your spouse, family or friends suffer for your misconduct??

Yes, I repeat – ‘misconduct’. Smoking is misconduct because by doing this you are not only harming yourself but the other persons around you.

Secondary/passive smoking is the inhalation of smoke of Tobacco smoked by others. The chemicals of cigarette smoke remains in the air for long time. So even secondary smoking by a pregnant mother increases the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth.

A person who is exposed to secondary smoking may develop asthma, lung infection; cardiovascular problems, coughing, nausea etc. Eye-sight may get adversely affected.

Quitting may seem hard at first but the cravings will get easier with the passing of time.

Make a promise/commitment to yourself – “I will not harm myself and my family by smoking. So I am quitting cigarette and all sorts of tobacco for good”.
If you want to beat the cravings you need to keep the promise that you have made to yourself.

Even if you are blessed with a child, by abstaining yourself from smoking you can set a good example to your children for not to smoke.

On World No Tobacco Day let’s take a pledge to quit smoking and to stay away from all sorts of tobacco use.


This blog has been Written by-
Ms. Shatabdi Datta

 *Disclaimer:- The opinion expressed in the blog is the opinion of the writer & not necessarily the opinion of ANTARA Organization.


Importance of Mental Health to achieve Life Goals!

Mental Health is important to achieve life goals
This is 21st Century. We are all busy all the time. We have to chase different targets & goals that have been set by the modern society. If we don’t perform well, we will be out of the race.

What you think are the crucial factors to win the race?

–Passion? Motivation? Dedication? Knowledge? Skills? Hard work?

— All the above are important provided that you are physically and mentally fit.

Unless you are mentally fit, in-spite of having all the required skills, motivation and hard work, you won’t be able to perform well.

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Mental Health is important to achieve life goals


There is no achievement without goals,

Mental focus is required to achieve the goals,

You cannot focus well unless you are mentally fit,

Therefore, Mental Health is crucial to achieve the goals!!                          

Mental Health is as important as physical health. Mentally healthy people can do more creative things, can enjoy the achievements more and perform better in all aspects of life.


This blog has been Written by-

Ms. Shatabdi Datta
 *Disclaimer:- The opinion expressed in the blog is the opinion of the writer & not necessarily the opinion of ANTARA Organization.


“Freedom from Addiction”: A Slogan, A Motive, An Attempt-by ANTARA!!


What is Addiction?
Addiction means being addicted to a particular substance or activity.

Is Addiction a Disease or a choice?

Addiction is a brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use. So in spite of knowing about the side effects of addiction, addicted people cannot stop using it. So they need to get professional help.

There is an argument on whether Addiction is a choice or a disease. Those who supports that addiction is a choice, says that – the person himself/herself decides to start taking the drugs so it is a choice rather than a disease.

You might have seen many people who are using alcohol or cigarette occasionally for many years but they are not dependent on that i.e., they are not addicted to the substance. But a few people get addicted quite easily. The reason is that a few people have a biological predisposition to addiction. So they are more vulnerable to addiction. So once they start taking drugs it might be quite difficult for them to quit. They might not quit addiction without professional help. Motivation is a crucial factor to quit addiction. Medical Professionals can help you, counsel you but if you cooperate with them and if you have the motivation to quit, recovery could be faster.

Be it a disease or a choice but the fact is that addiction harms you as well as your loved ones also. You never know whether you have a biological predisposition to addiction or not. So why take a risk?? Prevention is better than cure-we all know that. So let’s not begin taking any kind of drugs.

Ask yourself these questions-

Can addiction help me build my Career?

Can it help my family to stay happy? Can it bring smile in the face of my loved ones?

Can it help make my relationship stronger?

Can it help my ill family member to recover?


But think if you can refrain yourself from addiction what positive things could happen!

You may focus more on your career, you may enjoy happy moments with your family, your relationship could get better if you give time to your partner rather than wasting time in drug abuse, your ill family member might not become a passive smoker and thus might not have to face additional health issues.

Life is short and there are lots of things to learn, lots of fun to do, lots of work to do, lots of milestones to achieve!! So go ahead and live your life! Don’t waste your precious time in drug abuse!!

Antara is always thriving to make the world a drug-free zone. We observed a month long awareness programme on “Freedom from Addiction’’ in the month of March 2018. A variety of awareness programmes were held. Inauguration of the programme was done differently. Rather than lighting a lamp [as we usually do], the programme was inaugurated by burning some drugs as a symbol of ‘Saying Good-Bye to Addiction’. All the participants present there asserted together that they will never take drugs again.

During the month-long programme we targeted small to medium groups and educated them through Seminars, Awareness Campaigns, Interactive Sessions, Social Media etc about the risk factors of Addiction and tried to motivate them to refrain themselves and their loved ones from Addiction.

Internet Addiction is rapidly increasing worldwide. Students are more vulnerable to this addiction and as a result their attendance and marks both are deteriorating. So  Antara conducted an awareness programme on “Internet-Use & Abuse”, where School Students were the target group.

In a programme we invited a Support Group (AA) to interact with our IPD patients [De-addiction Unit].

We invited local Club Members in an Interactive Session. We got active participation from them and got some suggestion that could be utilized in future.

On day-28th [29.03.2018], a team of Mental Health Professionals visited the Red light Area of Sonagachi of Kolkata City and interacted with the children and adolescents. It was really a good experience to spend a quality time with those children and adolescents of the area and to educate them about the dangers of addiction.

The month-long programme “Freedom from Addiction” concluded on 31st March 2018, with an Awareness Programme titled- “Challenges faced by Youth”.

We covered a variety of target groups in the Awareness Campaigns. Few of them are- School Students, Engineering Students, Nursing Students, IPD Patients of Antara, Clients and their Care- givers, Clients of Noorpur Satellite Clinic, OPD Patients of Antara, Psychology Students, Youth Group of Baruipur- Sonarpur Locality, Local Councillors, Group Members of Care & support Programme of Antara etc.

We are happy to share the experience of our journey with you.

This blog has been Written by-
Ms. Shatabdi Datta 

 *Disclaimer:- The opinion expressed in the blog is the opinion of the writer & not necessarily the opinion of ANTARA Organization.







On Sharing Your Battles with Depression

depPhoto credit:-
Flickr -Haldean Brown

Why do we talk about our wars against depression after we’ve come out of it? We could begin while we are still in battle.

“Why would they want to hear my sad stories without a pinch of hope?”

“They say things will always get better in the end, so should I not pay much attention to what I’m going through?”

“What if I’m asked to take things a little more lightly – take a chill pill – and feel guilty about having these feelings?”

“What proof do I have about my condition apart from words – words that won’t even reach my lips?”

“What if I become a burden and hurt them?”
A depressed person might often have these things on mind. But beyond these worries ultimately is a person who wants to come out and accept their condition to pave the way for treatment. Social stigma, though, is an unfortunately common barrier.

It’s often hard as a receiver to comprehend your friend’s troubles with understanding. If they seem wrapped in their own sadness, what part do you believe and what is exaggerated? And can we really judge this? Should we at all? It’s often felt that once our friend reverts back to an ‘acceptable’ form that she might begin to talk about it objectively.

Continue reading

The Addiction to Bohemia

Antara had held a drawing competition sometime back for its recovering patients. Most people had drawn what they saw around campus everyday – orchards, the greenhouse, and their friends strolling on a windy morning.

However, one individual’s artwork had caught my eye particularly – he’d deviated from the given theme, and seemed to be furiously scribbling what seemed like a maze onto his A4 sheet. Continue reading

Recovering Patience : An Introduction

How exactly do you talk to someone in recovery?

The first thing that strikes the average person’s mind when they hear words like ‘psychiatric hospital’, ‘rehabilitation’, and ‘de-addiction centre’, are images of hysterical patients behind bars, and the sound of muffled, sedated screams.

Quite the disturbing stereotype.

It is a given, that when patients first come in with severe symptoms into a clinical environment, they might react sharply. Continue reading


sulekha2.jpgSmt. Sulekha Mahato, 58 years, Ranibandh, Bankura District, West Bengal was supposed to visit her Father’s house and return in a few days. But there was no trace of her for almost two months. Her sons searched for her in all relatives’ houses but no success.
Finally the West Bengal Police knocked on their door with a message from ANTARA HOSPITAL.
Their mother is in Antara Hospital rescued from the streets and admitted by the police. She is now well-enough to return home.
On Wednesday, 3rd April 2019 her son came to ANTARA and took her home.
Another happy episode in the journey of ANTARA!

Home-coming after 20 years!

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Sunil got missing from home in his 20’s. After 20 years ANTARA reunited him with his family on 18.03.2019. His family members almost lost all hopes of getting him back. When his father was informed by Jharkhand Police that Sunil has been found in ANTARA Hospital, Kolkata, his father was happy and surprised at the same time. Sunil got missing from his residence at Jharkhand almost 20 years back. No one knows where he spent a major part of his life. No one knows how he came to Kolkata.

It was 12.02.2019 when West Bengal Police brought Sunil to ANTARA. They found him roaming around the streets and decided to give him a shelter. ANTARA was the first name that came to their mind and they brought him here.

According to his father Sunil was mildly mentally retarded since childhood. Affordable mental health facility was not available at their place. So they never tried to do his treatment.

Self-muttering, self-smiling, not maintaining daily activities, poor personal hygiene and wandering tendency were the symptoms that we found in him. We started his treatment once he got admitted here. After few days of treatment he responded well and started giving more information.  He told us that his house is at Vill-Mukrudih, Jharkhand. ANTARA Team then contacted with Jharkhand police and with the help of them we got to reach his family.

On 18.03.2019 Sunil’s father, relatives and neighbours came to collect him from ANTARA. One of his relatives said that they raised funds to come to Kolkata by car and all the neighbours and relatives of Sunil are awaiting his arrival at home.

This blog has been Written by-
Ms. Shatabdi Datta
 *Disclaimer:- The opinion expressed in the blog is the opinion of the writer & not necessarily the opinion of ANTARA Organization.



Ms. Sujata Adhikary is the only earning member of the family. As her elder sister Jharna has been separated, she stays with Sujata along with her child.

Jharna is 40 and suffering from mental illness. Frequent mood swings, aggressiveness, irrelevant talk, reduced sleep and appetite etc were the symptoms of Mrs. Jharna Sanpui, resident of a slum in Kolkata. When her daughter and sister came to receive her from ANTARA we got to know from them that she got missing from home one month back after a quarrel with her mother. They said whenever she got in to a fight she used to leave home. But this time she was missing for a month.  They said she is very demanding and used to take tobacco.

On 17.02.2019 West Bengal Police from Baruipur Thana brought her to ANTARA. After few days of treatment she started giving information about her home and family members. Although the address she provided was of her in laws place. But our team of social workers managed to find out her home and informed her family that Ms. Jharna is being treated at ANTARA.

On 12.03.2019 Ms. Sujata Adhikary (Sister of Jharna), and Ms. Puja Poria (Daughter of Jharna) came and received Jharna from ANTARA.

As their financial condition is very poor, ANTARA gave them a 100 percent concession on her treatment cost.

ANTARA always strives to help such needy patients.

You may help us to help such persons.

All donations to ANTARA are exempted from Income Tax u/s 80G.

For further query contact us at- 033-2437-8484/0593/0439


Email us at-

Whatsapp- 9038858123



This blog has been Written by-
Ms. Shatabdi Datta
 *Disclaimer:- The opinion expressed in the blog is the opinion of the writer & not necessarily the opinion of ANTARA Organization.

ANTARA is helping homeless mentally ill persons

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During the last fortnight 29 persons picked up from the streets have been brought to ANTARA because they seemed to be suffering from mental illness.

When asked most of them were unable to give clear details of their identity. They were brought from different police station areas such as Baruipur, Joynagar, Bakultala, Kultali, Falta, Narendrapur, Sonarpur etc under the Baruipur & Diamond Harbour subdivisions of South 24 Parganas.

As per procedure laid out in Mental Healthcare Act 2017, these patients were admitted through the order of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM), Baruipur Sub-division.

Widespread rumours of child lifting, kidnapping and kidney racket have led to physical assaults on several persons in the district.

Out of the 29 three persons were able to give details of their home after 2-3 days of treatment. One is from Hyderabad, one from Jharkhand and the other from Sonarpur. We are glad to inform that the families have already took them to their places.

We highly appreciate the prompt action of West Bengal Police and the ACJM to save innocent mentally ill persons.

Thorns cannot hide the beauty of a Rose   

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A 24 year old lady named Nazma Khatun (name changed) from Tiyor Pukur, Murshidabad, was found roaming around the streets of Narendrapur. The local people handed over her to the police. On 4th January she was brought to ANTARA by Narendrapur police. Since then she was staying and being treated here. She could not tell us anything about herself. When she was brought to Antara she was unwilling to take food and medicines. She was in aggressive mood and having adjustment problem with others. Lack of concentration, poor self care, sleep disturbance, irritable mood etc were the other complications that we encountered. So we started her treatment at Antara.

Somehow her family members got to know that she has been brought to Antara and came here looking for her. After consulting with the treating Psychiatrist and Social Worker they decided to continue her treatment here. She is much better now and cooperating with the instructions of our medical professionals but she needs to continue treatment for some more time.

From her family members we got to know that she is suffering from some psychological issues since last 6 years and had been treated by several psychiatrists of their local area. She was having adjustment issues for long time and she was not willing to stay at home.

But in spite of her illness she has completed her MBBS degree. It proves that if we desire to do something nothing can draw us back. After completing her MBBS she was doing her House-Staff ship staying in a rented house. But as she was staying alone she was not taking medicines properly so her illness relapsed but we believe after getting discharge from ANTARA she will complete her House-Staff ship successfully.

At ANTARA we have seen many people who are suffering from Mental Illness but in spite of their illness they are continuing their job and hobbies properly. So this is a general appeal from us to all of you reading this story –“Please do not neglect someone just because of his/her mental illness. Everyone is good in something.  You cannot judge someone just with their illness. So respect them, love them and do not let them feel different. They are as normal as us. ”


This blog has been Written by-
Ms. Shatabdi Datta

 *Disclaimer:- The opinion expressed in the blog is the opinion of the writer & not necessarily the opinion of ANTARA Organization.

Be a good friend to be a good parent

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This is the story of Hena (name changed), a sincere and obedient child. She is daughter of Joy (name changed) Uncle who is school friend of my Dad. They are four in the family-Hena, her mom, dad and her elder brother Robin. Hena was more responsible compared to her elder brother. Naturally her parents and relatives had high expectations for her. She was always in a pressure to fulfill  the expectations of her family. They were from a small town of Assam and their family was one of the aristocrat families of the town. Her mom and dad both were in high profile job. Hena secured good grades throughout her school life. Being a small town almost everyone knew her parents and grandparents, so she had to be decent and disciplined so that no one could complaint about her. There was not a single event when her parents got complaint about her. Her elder brother was less responsible and that’s why he was never trusted by his parents to do any serious or urgent work. In spite of being the younger child Hena has to do all that staff be it as simple as making her mother remember to bring mobile before going office or submitting bills or LIC premiums on time. She had a note book where she used to maintain a to-do list and follow up with her parents. So Hena was an inevitable member of the family. Even after annual exams if she used to go to her maternal uncle, she never left her note book. Everything was going well until she was sent to pune for higher studies after her class 12 board exams. She secured good marks in entrance exam and had been admitted to a reputed Engineering college at Pune. Her elder brother was not much good at studies. He anyhow managed to pass Bachelor of Arts degree with average marks. He was asked to try for govt jobs but he shown no interest in that. He used to be busy in his own world and he hardly had any information what is going on in his own family. Even if he got to know about any problem in his family, he was reluctant to think about that.

Suddenly he told his parents he wants to pursue diploma in fashion design. His parents were bit happy that at least he thought something about his future. So they made the arrangements for that. Now he was going for the classes regularly. So his parents were a bit happy because now if someone asks them about him they can answer something. Before that it was very annoying for them to reply such questions of their friends or neighbors. Everyone talks behind them that their son is good for nothing and always waste time playing cards in the club or just roaming around the streets.

But they were proud of their daughter. They used to call Hena almost everyday and always used ask about her studies and all. But what they never asked was how was she and if she is facing any problem over there. They had the confidence that she can manage any situation because she is sincere enough. But the story was totally different on the other side.

Hena was a fresher and she was being ragged by seniors. She was very polite, decent and was not frank with her parents. So she thought not to tell her parents about that and her parents also never asked about this. We do not know what exactly happened to her but after her first semester exam, suddenly she called her father and broke into tears. He was quite shocked and puzzled to hear that Hena wants to quit studies and wants to return home for good. They won’t be much surprised to hear this from Robin but it was quite unexpected from her. Her parents tried to make her agree to continue her studies but she refused. They found themselves in a dilemma. They were very conscious about their social status and was worried about the fact that if she returns home, people would thing she could not take the load of studies or she might have done something wrong for which she was rusticated from the college. So they decided to visit her college. Both of them took leave and went to visit her. As her semester was done they took her home with them. They asked her why she wants to quit studies but she did not come up with a proper answer. All she was saying was that she doesn’t want to go back. So they thought she might be feeling lonely or might not liking the food or like. So instead of focusing on her mental stress they imposed the decision on her to join studies as soon as the vacation ends. Sometimes we give more priority to our status instead of our loved ones which could be really harmful in future. As she was always an obedient child, this time also she could not refuse her parents and went to the college hostel after her vacations. When she was staying at home her relatives, neighbours and colleague of her parents asked her about her exams and how her studies were going on. She replied ‘O.K’. ‘Why ok? You are supposed to rank; you are the daughter of Mr. Joy who never got second in class. Do you know Sushant is also in the same college? He stood 1st in the class. His father is a clerical staff in your father’s office. So you have to score well otherwise it would be a matter of shame for your father. Isn’t it?”-One of her relatives asked her. She nodded her head silently. Again an unwanted expectation was levied on her.

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As she was not feeling good that hampered her score as well. Although her parents did not scold her but she was fed up answering the questions of her relatives. Even those relatives of Pune who never visited her hostel to see her even after knowing she is suffering from fever had been calling her to know her results. All the unwanted questions and advices left her more stressed out. Her parents told her not to worry and to concentrate on her studies so that she can score better in the next semesters.  But she was feeling guilty of making her parents feel low for her low grades in the semester. She was becoming depressed day by day. Another 5 months passed. Now the ragging episode came to an end but maybe she faced some incidents that she couldn’t forget. It was again the semester time.

Mr. Joy and her wife were taking breakfast together on a Sunday when they got a call from Hena. “I want to quit! I want to quit!”-she hung up the phone. They were literally shocked. The phone rang again. It was her roommate on the other side-“Aunty Hena cut herself on her wrist, we are taking her to the hospital. Please come soon”. For a while both of them became numb. Soon they pulled themselves together, took necessary belongings and took the next flight to pune. They were blaming themselves for not understanding their daughter’s feelings.

Mr. And Mrs. Roy never tried to become frank with their child. There was always a distance between them. They thought if they allow their child to listen or participate in adult talk they might be ruined. But the truth is that in adolescence stage you need to be frank with your child so that they may share their queries and problems with you. Hena never got such an environment in her family. Maybe that’s why she could not get the courage to share her problem with her parents. Moreover she got such poor grades for the first time in life. An intense guilt of making her parents ashamed, fear of getting low grades again and suffocation of hiding her problems pushed her to take such a decision. She was feeling depressed for long but her parents and teachers too overlooked the matter.

Hena’s parents contacted with the hostel authority and reached the hospital where she was admitted.  They met with the treating doctor and she suggested taking her to a mental health professional. Mr. And Mrs. Roy by that time made their mind to take her back home and to give priority to their daughter instead of thinking what people would think or gossip about them. They entered the room and as soon as Hena noticed them she started reacting and scratching the bed sheet. She was afraid that her parents will scold her and will through her in the hostel again to live with her problems all alone because they are more concerned about their social status. She closed her eyes and started screaming-“I don’t want to go there. Leave me. Please leave me!” The nurses told them to go outside because she needs rest.

As per doctors advice they came to meet her at evening. She was feeling better now. Her parents entered the room again with a smile in their face and sat beside her. “We missed you a lot! Most of the time your dad forgets to give me medicines. He forgets everything. Last month also he failed to submit the electricity bill on time. When you were at home these things never happened. We are feeling lonely as Robin is also out of station for studies. Let’s go home Hena, we are missing you.”-her mother told without taking a breath. “Oho! As if all is mine fault? Hena! Ask your mother whether she has cooked prawn for me in the last few months instead of begging her so many times? Whenever I asked her she refused and said ‘Prawn’ will be cooked only when Hena will come in her vacations.’ This is injustice. Isn’t it my child?”-Mr. Joy replied addressing Hena. Hena was shocked to see her parents like this. They never fought like this and never told her they missed her this much. Hena turned around her eyes towards her mom and dad and asked-“Are you ok Mom? Dad?”

Her father replied-“We were not ok without you. But..” Mrs. Roy snatched his words and said-“But now we will be fine as we are going to stay together again and here is the ticket for 3 of us. We are going for a holiday and after that we will return home” Now Hena smiled and said-“Really?” “Yes”-her father replied.

Hena hardly remember when she spent holidays with her parents as both of them does not usually get leave at the same time and they generally sent her to her maternal aunty who used to teach her some foreign language in her holidays too. So she hardly remembers when she enjoyed her holidays like HOLIDAYS…

It was all planned. Before meeting Hena her parents had a session with a Psychologist who suggested them to do these things. After returning from 3-days holiday they visited Ms. Shivani (the treating Psychologist) along with Hena and had another family counselling session. In the counselling session Hena told them that she was being ragged by seniors that made her depressed and sad. They used to continue the counselling session till it was not advised to stop by the counsellor. Due to family support and proper professional help her depression could not harm her anymore. She got the support of her family at that time. They understood it in late but it’s never too late to start over.

Now, she is a Chemistry Teacher. She completed her B.Sc and then M.Sc degree with Chemistry (Hons.) and secured a govt job in higher secondary school. Her desire was to be a Teacher not an Engineer. But her parents never asked her about her wish and she was so introvert and obedient that she couldn’t express her wish in front of them.

This is a humble request to all the parents-”Please do not try to live your dream in your children. Ask their opinion too. Don’t create an environment in the family that your child hesitate to share their feelings and problems with you. Do not give priority to ‘What people would think’. Everyone doesn’t need to be a Doctor or Engineer, there are other options too that your child may be interested in.

If you want your child to choose a career of your choice go counsel them about that rather than just levying your decision on them and try to be frank with your child. If Hena could be frank enough with her parents she might have told them what exactly happened with her in the college for which she was willing to quit studies. If they would understood and respect her feelings rather than giving priority to ‘what people would say if she quits studies’, then she might not have opted for suicide.

But as they took professional help at the right time and changed their behaviour and thinking, they could manage to get out of the problem. It is not like people didn’t ask why she quit engineering but her parents replied it was their fault not to take Hena’s opinion before choosing her career and they are happy to correct their fault.

Hena loves her profession and now people praise her for her quality teaching.

This blog has been Written by-
Ms. Shatabdi Datta
 *Disclaimer:- The opinion expressed in the blog is the opinion of the writer & not necessarily the opinion of ANTARA Organization.

Tale of Jharna: A Mental Illness Survivor

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“For how long you are being treated here?”- I asked Jharna Di, one of ANTARA’s former clients, aged 45 (approx).
“I stayed at ANTARA for long 14 years”-she replied.
With great surprise I asked her-“So you were admitted here for 14 years??”
“I was not admitted here!! I stayed here for 14 years! This is a long story. If you have time then only I can tell you, because in one or two words I cannot describe my story”-she raised her eyebrows and replied to my question.
So we sat together and here is what she described.
“I was only 13 years old when I was brought to ANTARA and I was too young to understand the environment of a mental hospital but what I heard from others about a hospital that created a rough sketch in my mind. Doctors, nurses, injections, medicines, electric shock, shackle, a small bed, a particular room/ward, and boiled food-these were the components of a hospital in my mind. 
But as my days were passing at ANTARA, my concept of a hospital started changing.
My origin is Bangladesh but I was staying at India with my maternal uncle at that time. When I was in Bangladesh, on an unfortunate day I had a quarrel with my elder brother, just like brother and sisters generally does in childhood. But he became so angry that day that he beat me in head with a piece of wood. From then onwards I was having headache and I was unable to remember my studies, incapable of attending classes, so I had to quit studies and was sent to India to my maternal uncle. I was staying and being treated there for few months. After that my uncle brought me to ANTARA with the help of Khidirpur Missionaries of Charity Brothers. I still remember the day they left me at ANTARA and I was crying and feeling broken inside. I thought am I that worthless that they are leaving me here?
No one used to come from my family to see me since then. I had nothing to pay to ANTARA. But I never felt unwanted here.

These were the starting days of ANTARA when there were only four nurses, a few doctors & staff with a few rooms only.  Dr. K. L. Narayanan was my treating Psychiatrist. Why Doctors are called God, I understood that after meeting him. P.M John Uncle and Dr. Narayanan were nothing but angels to me and many others who were struggling with mental illness.

For me, Dr. Narayanan was like my father and gradually I started believing that ANTARA is my home.” She paused for a while.
Suddenly I encountered a smile on her face. She pointed her finger towards a mango tree and started telling again. “No one could eat the first ripe mango of that tree except me. I used to pluck mangoes from that tree as if it’s my own house”-she asserted. We both smiled together and she started telling again-“Gradually I was recovering and I started helping the ward staffs to manage other violent patients and to take care of them. Sometimes my illness relapsed but ANTARA people handled me with great love. It was my mid-20’s when I felt I should not be a burden to anyone and I should make my own identity.  I expressed my wish to ANTARA people. Taking my wish seriously Antara sent me to a well-known Shoe Production House for six month training. The shoe production house liked my work and offered me a job over there. So with the help of Antara I lived my dream. I was staying at Antara till I got married.
Even after marriage Antara helped me in many ways.
 After marriage I had to quit my job due to some personal issues. But after few years I had to start working again as an Aaya/helper and art & craft freelancer to financially support my husband as his physical condition suddenly deteriorates. There too the skills I learned at Antara helped me a lot. So I am really thankful to ANTARA for everything they had done for me.
 It is not like that my mental illness never relapses afterwards, but whenever I or my family members realize that my mental illness is relapsing, we come and talk to the medical professionals of ANTARA and they do the needful. I never miss medicines and come for follow-up visits.”
Any message you want to give to those who are living with mental illness? – I asked.
She replied-“I want to tell them that they should seek help and should continue medication and therapies as per doctor’s advice. I never compromised with my medication; wherever I used to go I carried my medicines. Inspite of being mentally challenged I never thought I am less than anyone and I did whatever I wanted to do. There were ups and downs in my life and I behave in a different way when my illness relapses but once I recover I start fighting my battle again with same spirit. I might have to continue medicines for lifelong but that is ok for me.
I want to tell that if you or anyone around you is struggling with mental illness, do not be afraid or ashamed .Seek professional help and never stop taking psychiatric drugs unless and until your doctor’s advice.”I was lucky to have ANTARA beside me; you will also find someone who can help you when you are not in your best”.
So this is the story of Jharna Di who is a Mental Health Survivor and an inspiration for many. She not only managed herself but also helped her family to overcome crisis situations and helped her daughter in her studies too.
She is an all-rounder lady in spite of having mental illness. She is a perfect example that if we do not become afraid of our mental illness and take it as any other physical problem, visit doctors and medical professionals whenever it is required and continue medicines, we can lead a normal life just like others.
Admitting that you need Psychiatric assistance never makes you less of a person.


This blog has been Written by-
Ms. Shatabdi Datta
 *Disclaimer:- The opinion expressed in the blog is the opinion of the writer & not necessarily the opinion of ANTARA Organization.

Babita is Reunited with her husband


Babita was brought to Antara five months ago by the local police. Due to her mental illness, she was roaming in the streets of Joynagar village, about 25 Kms south of Antara. She gave her name as Babita, but no further details. After weeks of treatment and counseling, she started giving details of her family and address, but these were mixed up between her father’s house and her husband’s.
Letters were sent to the addresses she gave, but these were wrong. Her husband’s house was in Assam and her father’s house was in Bihar. Luckily, a patient from Assam was admitted in Antara recently and used their contacts in the Assam police to trace out the family within a couple of weeks. Babita’s husband phoned as soon as he got the information, and within a few days reached Antara to take Babita back home.
Somewhere out there there are many more such Babitas who are roaming in the streets because they are mentally unwell. They too have a family waiting at home. The challenge is to help them reach home.
Antara continues to do our part, more than seventy such persons have been reached back to their homes over the past five years (we didn’t keep count in the previous 43 years). The happiness that is visible in their faces is what is most satisfying (just look at their faces in the photo).
This blog has been Written by-
Dr. Bijoy Jacob
(Medical Superintendent)
 *Disclaimer:- The opinion expressed in the blog is the opinion of the writer & not necessarily the opinion of ANTARA Organization.


Let’s celebrate Independence from the stigma associated with mental illness


On the occasion of 71st Independence Day of India, let’s celebrate independence from the stigma associated with mental illness.

Independence is a priceless gift bestowed on us by the freedom fighters who fought selflessly for the freedom of our nation. They dreamed of a nation where people can breathe freely, express freely, live freely, do whatever they want for their betterment. Because of their sacrifice we became free from the shackles of the British after years of slavery. So we do have some responsibilities towards our nation and our society.

All of us cannot become soldiers at the same time to serve the nation and to protect our countryman. But we can contribute in our own small way to make the nation and the world a better place to live in. Our small efforts in our day to day life can bring about some positive changes to our nation and eventually to the world.

So on the auspicious occasion of our Independence Day, let’s take a pledge to support those who are struggling with any sort of mental illness or addiction.

So from now onwards, whenever you see someone who is facing any mental health issue in your circle, do not ignore him/her or do not make fun of him/her. Start a conversation and tell him/her to speak up. It may take some of your time that you could have been invested in your private world in chatting, sleeping, gaming or doing anything else, but believe me stealing some of your time from doing all these, to invest in talking with a person who is going through some mental issues could bring a positive change in his/her life. Let him/her understand that you are not ashamed of his/her condition and he/she is still the same person to you that he/she was before having this illness. Encourage him/her to seek help from the mental health professionals. Encourage your friends, family members and relatives to do the same to their circle.

Every drop makes an ocean. If all of us try to make our small circle/group a stigma free circle/group, then someday surely our nation will be totally free from all sorts of mental health stigma and mental illness will be treated as any other physical illness.

Let’s dream for a Mentally Healthy and Stigma free World.

This blog has been Written by-
Ms. Shatabdi Datta
 *Disclaimer:- The opinion expressed in the blog is the opinion of the writer & not necessarily the opinion of ANTARA Organization.




ANTARA has just started a new journey i.e., “Mental Health Mass Awareness Programme” to cover every District of West Bengal.

We started from the Sundarban Region that is a remote, rural region of West Bengal.

An important factor to respond to any mental health crisis is that you have to identify the symptoms of any potential mental health problem. The people residing at Sundarban area have to fight daily to survive as there is no other option available except agriculture, fishing, crab catching, collecting honey and wood cutting in the tiger prone and crocodile prone areas. Many people get killed each year by tiger attack. Most of the times the family members of the victims cannot even find their loved ones’ body which leads to psychological trauma.

Moreover the death of the bread winner of the family brings economical hardship as well. So Poverty, illiteracy, death in the families – are the things that the people residing at Sundarban face in day to day living. So chances of mental health crisis are common.

Knowing facts about mental health and mental illness are necessary to seek help.

That’s why we chose Sundarban Area as our first target under “Mental Health Mass awareness Programme”.

Baikunthapur Sishu Seva Kendra, an NGO that is working to improve the health and nutritional status of neglected children and their mothers residing in the utmost unreachable remote areas of Sundarban.

We contacted with the NGO who provided us with a chance to reach out to the community volunteers and conduct a training session on- “Mental Health problems and how to overcome the crisis situation”.

ank.jpgA team of mental health professionals with our CEO-Mr. M. Thomas John, from ANTATRA went there on 18.07.2018 for the Mass Awareness Programme.

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Let’s be aware of Mental Illness,
Let’s pave a path to Mental Wellness.

This blog has been Written by-
Ms. Shatabdi Datta
 *Disclaimer:- The opinion expressed in the blog is the opinion of the writer & not necessarily the opinion of ANTARA Organization.