Rhitu Chatterjee Rhitu Chatterjee is a health correspondent with NPR, with a focus on mental health.
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Rhitu Chatterjee

Rhitu Chatterjee

Health Correspondent

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.

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Why Sitting For Long Periods Can Affect Teens' Mental Health

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Life Kit: Living With Postpartum Depression

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Death rates in the U.S. declined and life expectancy showed a slight uptick in 2018, while drug overdose deaths declined for the first time since the 1990s. Andrew Harnik/AP hide caption

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Life Expectancy Rose Slightly In 2018, As Drug Overdose Deaths Fell

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What Is Postpartum Depression? Recognizing The Signs And Getting Help

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Teri Hines says she had a bout of depression during the lead up to menopause in her mid-40s. For many women, the lead-up to menopause can trigger mood issues. Hannah Yoon for NPR hide caption

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Hannah Yoon for NPR

As Menopause Nears, Be Aware It Can Trigger Depression And Anxiety, Too

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Jennifer Ford of Oakham, Mass., went through serious postpartum depression after her second pregnancy. She got help from her obstetrician after he connected with a statewide program that supports doctors. Kieran Kesner for NPR hide caption

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Kieran Kesner for NPR

'A Lifeline' For Doctors Helps Them Treat Postpartum Depression

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Jack George, an employee at Royal Lighting, looks at chandeliers using incandescent light bulbs at the store in Los Angeles. A federal judge is allowing California to enforce updated efficiency standards that will affect such specialty lightbulbs. Jae C. Hong/AP hide caption

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Jae C. Hong/AP

Efforts To Stop Suicide Will Get A Boost In 2020

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New Report Shows That An Alarming Number Of Children Are Being Poisoned By Opioids

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Augustine of Hippo was among those in the Catholic Church who championed its eventual rejection of intrafamily marriages, which researchers say may have paved the way for a breakdown of extended family networks in Western Europe. Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images hide caption

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Scientists caution that using marijuana during pregnancy could be risky, but some women with severe nausea and lack of appetite during pregnancy are trying it. Niklas Skur/EyeEm/Getty Images hide caption

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Some Pregnant Women Use Weed For Morning Sickness But FDA Cautions Against It

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Depression symptoms dropped significantly in a group of young adults who ate a Mediterranean-style diet for three weeks. It's the latest study to show that food can influence mental health. Claudia Totir/Getty Images hide caption

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