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.
New numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that synthetic opioid use is driving the overdose crisis in the U.S.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling to end "race-based medicine," wherein doctors sometimes use race as a factor to determine what treatment patients receive.
A new report details the economic, mental and physical health of healthcare workers. Much of the workforce is struggling with symptoms of burnout, anxiety and trauma and want to leave the profession.
An advisory committee has issued its draft recommendations to screen kids earlier for anxiety and depression. Experts say this will help children get help before things escalate into a crisis.
A new study says that even though teen drug use in the U.S. went down during the pandemic, overdose deaths rose significantly during 2020-21. The vast majority of these deaths were caused by fentanyl.
While adult overdoses surged in the last decades, teens hadn't seen the same kind of death rates. But now fatal overdoses nearly doubled in one year and continued to rise in 2021.
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 annual survey finds Americans more on edge than ever, triggered by financial issues, the war overseas and the cumulative pressure of living through the pandemic.
Mental health advocates applaud the proposals, which they say offer much-needed federal leadership on a growing national crisis. But they worry about getting sustainable funding for the efforts.
Health care providers and advocates say Biden's mental health plan is the first time in decades that the federal government is showing leadership in addressing the nation's mental health crisis.