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 one Texas school district is offering grief training to mental health providers

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A new poll reveals Americans are stressed out by inflation, violence and politics

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For many people, the lead up to menopause may cause unexpected symptoms. bubaone/Getty Images hide caption

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Part of a destroyed mobile home park is pictured in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers Beach, Florida on September 30, 2022. GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Encore: When teens threaten violence, a community responds with compassion

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The brain processes music in several places, making it easier for some people to remember songs they learned a long time ago. Getty Images hide caption

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Name That Tune! Why The Brain Remembers Songs

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A bookmark advertising the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline emergency telephone number displayed by a volunteer with the Natrona County Suicide Prevention Task Force, in Casper, Wyoming on August 14, 2022. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Twin sisters Tripti and Pari, who lost both their parents to COVID-19, play at a relative's home in Bhopal, India on May 11, 2021. A new study estimates that 8 million kids lost a parent or primary caregiver to a pandemic-related cause. Gagan Nayar/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Nearly 8 million kids lost a parent or primary caregiver to the pandemic

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As kids return to school this fall, educators are prepared to deal with the continued mental health fallout of the disruptions of the pandemic. martinedoucet/Getty Images hide caption

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As school starts, teachers add a mental-health check-in to their lesson plans

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A new school year brings fresh concerns about the mental health of students

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The new mental health hotline 9-8-8 is live in the US. People experiencing a mental health crisis can simply call or text the number for help. EMS-FORSTER-PRODUCTIONS/Getty Images hide caption

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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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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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