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.
There have been nearly a dozen mass shootings this month and a total 346 mass shootings so far this year — each one leaving a heavy toll for communities around them.
Population growth has long been a source of worry in India, which now has more people than China: 1.486 billion residents. But some experts are optimistic about the impact of this population boom.
COVID-19 disrupted health care across the globe. causing the biggest drop in childhood vaccination rates in decades. UNICEF's latest estimates find that nearly 50 million children entirely missed out.
Despite laws that say mental health care should be paid for on a par with other medical care, health insurance stopped covering the care a suicidal teen needed before she was stable.
The pandemic spotlighted the connection between work and well-being. A way to boost happiness at work is stronger connections with colleagues. (Story aired on All Things Considered on Feb. 18, 2023.)
Deaths of despair were thought to primarily affect white communities but a new study in The Lancet finds Native American communities have seen the biggest rise in such deaths in recent years.
The days might seem long, but the years go by quickly, friends warned when my son was born. I wanted to savor each precious memory, but how? Living on "toddler time," showed me the way.
It's been six months since the launch of the national 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. We check in on how many people are using it, and whether it's connecting them to help.
A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds a huge spike in accidental consumption of edible weed among children 5 and younger. While most suffered mild impacts, about one in five were hospitalized.
A growing number of schools have adopted an evidence-based approach to preventing campus violence. (Story first aired on All Things Considered on June 1, 2022.)