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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Mental health workers say they plan to strike

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Tomeka Kimbrough-Hilson was diagnosed with uterine fibroids in 2006 and underwent surgery to remove a non-cancerous mass. When she started experiencing symptoms again in 2020, she was unable to get an appointment with a gynecologist. Her experience was not uncommon, according to a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Nicole Buchanan for NPR hide caption

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Nicole Buchanan for NPR

A 'staggering' number of people couldn't get care during the pandemic, poll finds

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DELRAY, FL - MAY 23, 2022: (L-R) Alexandra Iriarte, Elizabeth George, Janaya Stephens, Paris Jackson, Mario Guillaume and Keanna Tyson during a group session in their grief support group also knows as Steve's Club held during school hours at Atlantic High School in Delray Beach, Florida on May 23, 2022. Saul Martinez for NPR hide caption

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Losing a parent can derail teens' lives. A high school grief club aims to help

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More than 91,000 people in the U.S. died from drug overdoses in 2020. There were sharp increases among certain racial groups, a new report finds. Jeff Chiu/AP hide caption

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Calling 988 in the U.S. will now get you help for a mental health crisis

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The new 3-digit suicide hotline number is launching this weekend. Are states ready?

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Identifying with their pain, a teacher made a club for students who've lost a parent

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CDC OKs vaccinations for children 6 months to 5 years old

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A child receives the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine at the Fairfax County Government Center in Annandale, Va., last November. Vaccines will soon be available for children as young as 6 months old. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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When teens threaten violence, a community responds with compassion

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Can potential teen shooters be guided away from an act of violence?

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Containers of pills and prescription drugs are boxed for disposal during the Drug Enforcement Administration's 20th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 24, 2021. Nearly 108,000 people died in 2021 from drug overdoses. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Overdose deaths continued to rise in 2021, reaching historic highs

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Race can impact the medical treatment a person gets. Pediatrics wants to address that

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