Rhitu Chatterjee is a health correspondent with NPR, with a focus on mental health. In addition to writing about the latest developments in psychology and psychiatry, she reports on the prevalence of different mental illnesses and new developments in treatments.
Chatterjee explores the underlying causes of mental health disorders – the complex web of biological, socio-economic, and cultural factors that influence how mental health problems manifest themselves in different groups – and how our society deals with the mentally ill. She has a particular interest in mental health problems faced by the most vulnerable, especially pregnant women and children, as well as racial minorities and undocumented immigrants.
Chatterjee has reported on how chronic stress from racism has a devastating impact on pregnancy outcomes in black women. She has reported on the factors that put adolescents and youth on a path to school shootings, and what some schools are doing keep them off that path. She has covered the rising rates of methamphetamine and opioid use by pregnant women, and how some cities are helping these women stay off the drugs, have healthy pregnancies, and raise their babies on their own. She has also written about the widespread levels of loneliness and lack of social connection in America and its consequences of people's physical health.
Before starting at NPR's health desk in 2018, Chatterjee was an editor for NPR's The Salt, where she edited stories about food, culture, nutrition, and agriculture. In that role, she also produced a short online food video series called "Hot Pot: A Dish, A Memory," which featured dishes from a particular country as made by a person who grew up with the dish. The series was produced in collaboration with NPR's Goats & Soda blog.
Prior to that, Chatterjee reported on current affairs from New Delhi for PRI's The World, and covered science and health news for Science Magazine. Before that, she was based in Boston as a science correspondent with PRI's The World.
Throughout her career, Chatterjee has reported on everything from basic scientific discoveries to issues at the intersection of science, society, and culture. She has covered the legacy of the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984, the world's largest industrial disaster. She has reported on a mysterious epidemic of chronic kidney disease in Sri Lanka and India. While in New Delhi, she also covered women's issues. Her reporting went beyond the breaking news headlines about sexual violence to document the underlying social pressures faced by Indian girls and women.
She has won two reporting grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and was awarded a certificate of merit by the Gabriel Awards in 2014.
Chatterjee has mentored student fellows by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, as well as young journalists for the Society of Environmental Journalists' mentorship program. She has also taught science writing at the Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop.
She did her undergraduate work in Darjeeling, India. She has two master's degrees—a Master of Science in biotechnology from Visva-Bharati in India, and a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Missouri.
Many kids are feeling anxious about returning to school. Mental health providers say that kids with past trauma and pre-existing mental illness are the most vulnerable.
A new CDC study finds that people who provide unpaid care for their children or adult loved ones are twice as likely as noncaregivers to have experienced depression or anxiety, or thoughts of suicide.
If a young person says they want to end their life, how do you help? First, don't panic. Suicide is preventable. Here's advice for helping young people in crisis, from people who've lived through it.
A cluster of suicides in Las Vegas, plus a troubling rise in youth suicide attempts observed in ERs nationwide, is raising fears that the pandemic is fueling a children's mental health crisis.
The coronavirus has affected most Americans, but NPR's latest poll shows Black, Latino and Native American households are hardest hit by the financial impact of the crisis.
The turnaround is welcome news after rising drug overdose and suicide rates had pushed life expectancy down since 2014. Could America be turning the tide on opioid addiction?
The average age of those who were raped was around 15, and their assailants were typically older partners. Women who were raped had a greater likelihood of long-term health problems.
The current suicide hotline — 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255 — has helped many people. But it's long and tough to remember in a crisis. The FCC is proposing a new national, three-digit number.
The Trump administration is trying to legalize indefinite detention of migrant families. But detention can be emotionally crushing for kids, leading to long-term mental health problems like PTSD.
It may not be a coincidence that several mass shootings took place in one week. Research shows perpetrators are often inspired by media coverage of other shootings.