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.
She came to the U.S. for grad school. She was lonely. Then came an invitation for Thanksgiving — no turkey (strictly vegan) but a spirit that touched her soul. And her mango lassi was a hit!
About one in seven women become depressed shortly after they give birth. A new study finds that depression can linger for three years after childbirth, and in some cases get worse over time.
Doom-scrolling much? Nearly 70% of Americans report feeling stressed about politics. We're sleepless and irritable, and our heads hurt. Here's how some of your fellow citizens are coping.
President Trump has signed a bipartisan bill creating a three-digit hotline for mental health emergencies. Mental health advocates say it'll bring mental health crisis response into the 21st century.
The drug dexamethasone is a cheap, widely available steroid. But how long should COVID-19 patients take it, and what are the side effects?
President Trump will continue to get top-of-the-line medical care for COVID-19 now that he's back at the White House, including the final dose of the new antiviral medication, remdesivir
Less than a week into his diagnosis, the president is still in a risky zone. He'll be closely monitored for signs of continued illness or relapse.
The pandemic economy is squeezing families with kids: 74% of those earning less than $100,000 report serious financial woes, in an NPR poll. Experts worry about lasting impacts on kids' mental health.
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.
Besides being hit hard by the pandemic health-wise, a poll by NPR and other organizations finds that the coronavirus has taken a bigger financial toll on minority communities.