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.
This school year was supposed to bring a return to normalcy. But the stress of transitioning back to in-person learning and the ever-changing pandemic has caused a surge in mental health needs.
Americans' life expectancy declined by nearly two years in 2020 compared to the year before, primarily because of COVID-19. The drop in life expectancy was bigger for men, and for Blacks and Latinos.
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Federal health officials have been urging adults with psychiatric conditions to get a booster shot to increase their COVID protection. It turns out being mentally ill puts you at higher risk.
A lot of us have been sitting too much, and it's hard on us mentally as well as physically. Research shows breaking up that couch or desk time with short stints of movement can help lift your mood.
Roughly 175,000 children in the U.S. have lost one or both parents or a grandparent caregiver to COVID-19, according to a new study. The majority come from racial and ethnic minority groups.
Experts say taking care of your own wellbeing first will allow you to help your kids and students. You should also listen to their concerns and teach them tools to manage their anxieties.
Many kids are feeling anxious about returning to school. Mental health providers say that kids with past trauma and pre-existing mental illness are the most vulnerable.
The pandemic has made people more open to seeking help, a new survey finds, but cost and difficulty in finding a mental health care provider are still big obstacles.
Sweat is an "evolutionary marvel," says Sarah Everts, the author of The Joy of Sweat. In her new book, Everts delves into the science of perspiration and how this trait has enabled humans to thrive.