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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A Look At The Impact Of Active Shooter Drills

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Chronic stress at work can lead to burnout, a syndrome defined by the World Health Organization as including depleted energy, exhaustion, negativity, cynicism and reduced productivity. baona/Getty Images hide caption

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WHO Redefines Burnout As A 'Syndrome' Linked To Chronic Stress At Work

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The increase in suicide rates was highest for girls ages 10 to 14, rising by nearly 13% since 2007. While for boys of the same age, it rose by 7%. Nicole Xu for NPR hide caption

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Suicide Rate For Girls Has Been Rising Faster Than For Boys, Study Finds

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Studies have shown that the levels of THC, the main psychoactive compound in pot, rose dramatically in the U.S. from 1995 to 2017. David McNew/Getty Images hide caption

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Highly Potent Weed Has Swept The Market, Raising Concerns About Health Risks

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Teen romance gone wrong can be dangerous for girls. Around 7 percent of teen homicides between 2003 and 2016 were committed by intimate partners, and girls were the victims in 90 percent of those deaths. Ross Anania/Getty Images hide caption

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How Media Organizations Can Help Mitigate Suicide Contagion

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FDA Approves Drug That Could Help Women With Postpartum Depression

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In 2011, a 17-year-old named Mishka told readers of his Facebook post that his Salem, Ore., high school was "asking for a f***ing shooting." That post and other furious outbursts triggered a quick, but deep evaluation by the school district's threat assessment unit. Beth Nakamura for NPR hide caption

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Oregon School Helps Students In Crisis Steer Away From Violence

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School Shooters: What's Their Path To Violence?

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The drugs clonazepam and diazepam are both benzodiazepines; they're better known by the brand names Klonopin and Valium. The drug class also includes Ativan, Librium and Halcion. Bloomberg/Getty Images hide caption

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