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.
After finding she had ten bereaved kids in her class, one Florida teacher created a teen grief group. It's a place where kids can support each other and feel they're not alone.
Drug overdoses are killing more people than ever in the U.S., and a new CDC report finds growing racial disparities among those who have died — with the largest increase among Black Americans.
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.
Mental health advocates hope the new hotline will make it easier to get support if you're in crisis or helping someone who is. Here's how it works and what could stand in its way.
A simpler suicide hotline launches July 16. The three digits are meant to be easy for those in a mental health crisis to remember and dial. But most states aren't prepared to meet the volume of calls.
A Florida teacher realized kids were not getting help with the trauma of losing a parent, so she created a "club" where students can share their feelings with others going through the same thing.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky has cleared the way for the roll out of vaccines for children five years and under as early as this coming week.
CDC advisers are recommending the use of two separate COVID-19 vaccines for the youngest children made by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, paving the way for vaccine rollout as early as next week.
A growing number of schools have adopting an evidence-based approach to preventing violence on their campuses. The plan recognizes that a student contemplating violence is a student in crisis.
For many of the young people who've opened fire in schools, the path to violence has common traits. Psychologists and researchers have developed a body of study on the topic.