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.

Story Archive

Thursday

A new study shows those who live alone report depression more than those who live with others. Yana Iskayeva/Getty Images hide caption

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Yana Iskayeva/Getty Images

Americans who live alone report depression at higher rates, but social support helps

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Tuesday

Psilocybin mushrooms jarred and ready for distribution at Uptown Fungus lab in Springfield, Ore. Oregon has decriminalized the use of the psychedelic drug. Craig Mitchelldyer/AP hide caption

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Craig Mitchelldyer/AP

As 'magic mushrooms' got more attention, drug busts of the psychedelic drug went up

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Wednesday

How an anonymous tip line is combatting gun violence in schools

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Students from Launch Charter School march on Gun Violence Awareness Day on June 2 last year in Brooklyn, NY. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images hide caption

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Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

'Say Something' tip line in schools flags gun violence threats, study finds

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Friday

electravk/Getty Images

Again! Again! Here's why toddlers love to do things on repeat

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Thursday

A poll from the American Psychological Association found that nearly half of respondents wished they had someone to help them manage stress. Meredith Rizzo for NPR hide caption

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Meredith Rizzo for NPR

Want to stress less in 2024? A new book offers '5 resets' to tame toxic stress

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Monday

Manzanas del Cuidado, el programa para cuidadoras, encomendó la realización de murales en honor a Ruth Infante (izquierda) y Rita Salamanca por el importante papel que desempeñan como cuidadoras en la comunidad. Los murales están expuestos en una escuela del centro de San Cristóbal. Ben de la Cruz/NPR hide caption

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Ben de la Cruz/NPR

Así cuida Bogotá a las personas que ayudan a otros

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Wednesday

Wednesday

Wednesday

Participants walk in support and in memory of those lost, during American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Walk at Montrose Harbor on October 21, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. Barry Brecheisen/Getty Images for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hide caption

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Barry Brecheisen/Getty Images for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Teresa Cox-Bates and her husband John Bates, along with their kids Eli, Ava and Issac. Teresa says HealthySteps has helped her face her own childhood trauma and be a better parent. Kholood Eid for NPR hide caption

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Kholood Eid for NPR

How to break the cycle of childhood trauma? Help a baby's parents

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Wednesday

Members of the Bengaluru Solidarity Group in Support of the Bhopal Struggle take part in a candlelight vigil to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster in Bangalore on December 2, 2014. Manjunath Kiran/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Manjunath Kiran/AFP via Getty Images

The world's worst industrial disaster harmed people even before they were born

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Tuesday

Friday

A girl looks on as she stands by the rubble outside a building hit by Israeli bombardment in the southern Gaza Strip on October 31, 2023. Children in Gaza have been exposed to high levels of violence even before the current war, researchers say, increasing their risk of mental health challenges. Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images

How a history of trauma is affecting the children of Gaza

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Thursday

Palestinian children exposed to violence are suffering from PTSD and depression

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Wednesday

Left: A Palestinian woman cries at the garden of Al-Ahli Arabi Baptist Hospital after it was hit in Gaza City, Gaza on Oct. 18. Right: After an attack by Hamas on a kibbutz near the Gaza border, a swing is left intact while most of this family's house is in ruins. Five family members were kidnapped. Mahmud Hams / AFP via Getty Images; Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images hide caption

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Mahmud Hams / AFP via Getty Images; Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images

The Middle East crisis is stirring up a 'tsunami' of mental health woes

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Monday

Israel-Hamas war takes toll on Israeli and Palestinian civilians' mental health

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Why a person's hair turns gray has to do with melanocytes, or pigment-producing cells that are concentrated around the hair follicle that give it color. One stops producing pigment, that strand of hair turns gray. Christopher Robbins/Getty Images hide caption

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Christopher Robbins/Getty Images

Sunday

How Bogotá cares for its family caregivers

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Monday

Ruth Infante (second from left), a single mother of three, and her classmates donned traditional flowing dresses for their Cumbia dance performance at a "care block" center in Bogotá, Colombia. The class is one of the free services offered to anyone in the neighborhood who is an unpaid caregiver for their family. Ben de la Cruz/NPR hide caption

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Ben de la Cruz/NPR

How Bogotá cares for its family caregivers: From dance classes to job training

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Wednesday

When Florence Nightingale was recruiting nurses, an accomplished nurse from Jamaica named Mary Seacole traveled to London but was repeatedly rejected. Seacole wrote: "Did these ladies shrink from accepting my aid because my blood flowed beneath a somewhat duskier skin than theirs? " Her experience is part of the new book Taking Care: The Story of Nursing and its Power to Change the World. Universal History Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Universal History Archive/Getty Images

Friday

Natasha Poonawalla, executive director of the vaccine-manufacturing Serum Institute of India, donned an haute couture sari for the 2022 Met Gala. The garment is on display at the museum show '"The Offbeat Sari" (pictured, right). The designer is Sabyasachi Mukherjee and the metal corset is by Schiaparelli. Mike Coppola/Getty Images (l), Andy Stagg. Courtesy of the Design Museum hide caption

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Mike Coppola/Getty Images (l), Andy Stagg. Courtesy of the Design Museum

Memories of my mom are wrapped up in her saris

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Wednesday

Laura Gao for NPR

Why a stranger's hello can do more than just brighten your day

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