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.
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.)
A new study finds numbers far higher than previously thought. India has the greatest number of kids affected. The U.S. has 250,000 kids in this category but lags behind in aid for bereaved families.
Insured or not, one in five said they couldn't get treated for serious illness, while preventive and elective procedures were neglected. Disruptions in care hit Black and Native Americans the hardest.
The U.S. has a new mental health crisis line - 988. It's intended to replace the national suicide hotline, but funding issues could mean it takes a while for the line to be up-to-speed.
A recent study found that during the pandemic's surge after surge, a majority of American health care workers experienced psychiatric symptoms. And yet, very few got help for these symptoms.
The U.S. maternal mortality rates jumped in 2020 with the biggest increases seen in Black and Hispanic women. The death rate for Black women was almost three times higher than for white women.
A poll finds that nearly 90% of Americans are concerned about the mental health of youth. Another report ranks states by the how they are fairing in terms of access to school based mental health care.
With the omicron variant causing a surge of COVID-19 infections in assisted living facilities, more staff are having to stay at home, making the jobs of those still working a lot harder.
Daily totals of new coronavirus infections are higher than this past summer's wave, with infection numbers increasing quickly in the Northeast.
Americans' life expectancy declined by nearly two years in 2020 compared to the year before, primarily because of COVID-19. The drop in life expectancy was bigger for men, and for Blacks and Latinos.