Depression at the top of Corporate Ladder

A disturbing recent study conducted by the ASSOCHAM INDIA, reveals depression as the most prominent disease which is observed among employees at the top of corporate ladder. At the top of ladder, the rate of  emotional challenges  such as anxiety and depression has sizable increased to 45-50 in the past eight years, and health experts say it’s just the beginning.

The sudden death of Ranjan Das in Nov. 2009, the then CEO of SAP remained headlines for several months, reminding the corporate of wellness issues within organizations which reflect a disturbing data.

depressed ceoDepression: A new age disaster

Depression a silent killer has secretly entered the corporate world engulfing almost half of the corporate population. The Monster is directly attacking people at the helm of the affair in an organisation without even their realizing and acknowledging it.

Unhealthy lifestyle combined with erratic work schedules and unending desire to reach t the top is pushing them towards a disaster. Corporate culture is now immune to a work style which is unwanted and undesirable. Constant rush to meet new and uncertain challenges every time has brought the top management to an emotional and psychological brink. Coping with the strenuous and stressed work lifestyle is a big challenge that today’s top corporate world is facing.

The top Corporate brass, have to continuously survive the stiff global competitive environment to deliver and at the same time save their jobs, adding pressure on their health, leading to silent diseases, thus impacting both their psychology as well as physiology. The challenges posed by the new age dilemmas and dogmas have severely impacted both the interpersonal and professional relationships creating a deep emotional void and vacuum resulting in chronic depression and ambiguous lifestyle.

Similar mental pressure is felt at home front too. The constant struggle to appease the family members, the unending desires and demands of children, the inability to spend quality time with the spouse all add up to the further misery. It is just a constant race against time always and an unending chase to be at the top always.

DepressedBusinessman_616ASSOCHAM’s study reveals that as much as 38.5 per cent of corporate employees sleep less than six hours a day owing to high stress levels arising out of tough targets set for them by employers. In terms of the physical fitness, 57 per cent of the employees in private companies said they “do not exercise at all”, while 23 per cent do physical workout devoting less than one hour a week and 12 per cent of the employees exercise for one to three hours a week.

The trend is visible worldwide as well. Lack of self-confidence, unrealistic expectations and a nutrient-deficient diet, high intake of alcohol with incessant smoking, trigger the condition. Moreover biological, psychological and environmental factors play a role too.

 Corporate-Wellbeing-SolutionsThe solution to this mess

Now where does the solution to this growing menace lie. It lies within us, in our real consciousness. What we actually end up doing and what we actually want to do.

The real meaning and purpose of life gets lost and we just run after mundane and materialistic wealth. The sole aim is just to accumulate as much as one can despite knowing that everything is temporary and nature carries its own agenda. So we need to channelize and prioritise our goals and aims and work towards them holistically through mindfulness and wellness. we need to actually sit back and think, what we are going to achieve with all our self-created troubles of stress, fear, anxiety, depression and so on.

In a larger picture, corporate houses have to understand the bigger side of wellness and their holistic approach towards both the mental and physical well-being, understanding the true fact that physiology and psychology go hand in hand. But the irony is that the Corporate Wellness Programs are being applied without being customized to the needs of the organisation and hence they are not able to deliver the desired results. Merely Annual Health Check-up, provision on online counselling help, wellness camps by calling a spiritual guru is not a complete remedy. It has to be a complete well defined holistic approach towards wellness and mindfulness catering to both the physical and spiritual needs.

The need of the hour is to have a multi-dimensional approach to control the killer.

  • The Educational Institutions have to be the first line of defence for emotional and mental health disorders in our new generation. The system of education needs to be reviewed which calls for a complete overhauling. Rather than pushing the children to be at a top, the focus needs to be on the holistic wellness, which develops the child to embrace further challenges in the life.


  • Organisations and corporate sectors bear a massive responsibility in generating awareness in the positive role of preventive health care as a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. Embracing a VOI approach to health and wellness programs not only address their concerns about workforce health risks and related cost but also improve productivity — and in turn, their bottom line.


By: Dr. Gazal Goyal. Dr. Gazal is a certified lead auditor for FSSC/ISO-22000. She is associated with Aadyantalife as Healing Food expert

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Depression, anxiety, burn out are all real problems of successful workplaces, but what is there to reduce them at least a bit? I don’t think companies will really invest in it, at least successful ones, and why should they (I understand why from the human perspective, but from the market perspective, for any burnt employee, there is a line of those who want to take his place). In my experience, the answer is inside ourselves: we all need to work, fine, but we have to remember why we work, what else is there in life, and keep that, not work, as dominant goals. Had to walk a while and burn a little to remember about it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amitabh says:

      True Natasha, however the responsibility of keeping fit lies totally on individual rather than company. Also if people sitting at top realize the importance of employee wellness and how it affects the bottomline of each organization, and the losses which happen due to employees ill health will surely
      push the top management to engage employees in wellness programs and ensure their warriors are fit to face each day challenges headon..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Theoretically, yes, but how much can the companies do, even if we assume they really want to? Lots of companies today sponsor gym memberships (or have a gym on campus) and do similar things. In my experience though the problem is more psychological and has to do with how we approach work and energy balances.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. paulavibert says:

    Amitabh, thank you very much for this article. It’s so true. I will be sharing it.


    1. Amitabh says:

      Thanks for ur appreciation.


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