Antara is a Voluntary, Charitable, Non-profit, Non-Governmental and Secular Organisation.
Its staff include social workers, psychologists, nurses, psychiatrists, general physicians, laboratory workers, administrators and a variety of support staff. Interestingly several of Antara's employees are ex-patients and Antara takes an enlightened view to employing those affected by mental illness.
It is registered under the ‘West Bengal Societies Registration Act 1961, Mental Health Act 1987 and Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.
Antara funds its work in a number of ways:
It seeks to be mostly self-sustaining.
- Treatment is Means Tested - Patient's are charged for care according to their ability to pay which is assessed by social workers on pre-arranged criteria or on submission of a notice from the patient's local council. On occassions patients require even greater subsidies and each case is assessed on its own merit. Meeting the needs of all patients is a constant challenge.
- Sales of Antara Products - Antara has a number of novel income generating schemes including productive agriculture, a horticulture scheme, plastic products and textiles or arts. These also form the basis of occupational therapy so combining recovery with income generation for the recoving patient and subsidising patient treatment.
But still requires funding for development and subsidising care:
- One-off donations - Antara has received support from a number of overseas and India based organisations but funding is rarely sustained and is generally for specific facilities or equipment.
- Friends of Antara - India, and USA and Canada. Support from these organisations is more sustained.
Antara's Memorandum of Association lays down the following objectives:
1. 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.
2. To provide outdoor, indoor and domicillary treatment to the mentally ill, including alcoholics and drug addicts.
3. To conduct research and training for the development of the healing of the mentally ill.
4. To establish in Kolkata and elsewhere centres and branches for expansion of the activities of the association.
'Our Mission is to alleviate the suffering of destitute and poor people afflicted with mental illness, addiction and alcoholism. We shall strive to do this with patience and compassion'
(The Mission Statement of the Antara Society 1971)