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.
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.
The 3-digit suicide and crisis lifeline – 988 – fielded nearly half a million more calls, texts and chats in its first 5 months than the old 10-digit Lifeline did during the same time in 2021.
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.
The cases of accidental ingestion of cannabis candies and baked goods among small children increased 1,375% in five years, according to a study in the journal Pediatrics.
Americans are understandably stressed and anxious about a range of things, such as inflation, politics and war. But psychologists say research offers a host of ways to manage anxiety.
In 2022, a panel of health experts recommended that doctors screen all adults 65 and under for anxiety disorders. There are pros and cons to universal screening and treatments for anxiety.
Scientists say anxiety is very useful and adaptive, warning us of threats in our environment. But chronic anxiety, or anxiety that interferes with daily life, can harm our mental and physical health.
At a school district in Texas, mental health professional training to address grief and trauma is healing for school-based therapists and social workers who lost loved ones during the pandemic.
Schools across the U.S. are seeing more students struggle with grief, but are ill-equipped to support them. One school district in Texas is training its mental health providers to help them cope.