It’s important for advisors to recognize the signs of depression, says psychologist Dr. Donna Ferguson from Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. These can include isolation, agitation, being unable to sleep or looking sad.

If your client demonstrates any of these, ask if they’re OK, she suggests. Say, “I’m concerned that you don’t look yourself lately. Is there anything you want to talk about? I don’t want to pry, but I’m wondering if I can help because I’m worried about you.”

If the client is willing, you can suggest visiting a family doctor to get a referral to a psychiatrist, which is covered by most provincial healthcare plans, says Ferguson. Or, the client can make an appointment with a psychologist, which doesn’t require a referral but can cost about $225 per hour. Alternatively, check if the client has insurance coverage through an employer, or if their company offers an employee assistance program.

If the client won’t open up and you have access to a family member, reach out to them, adds Ferguson. Say, “I’m really concerned about Joe. He doesn’t seem like himself,” and hopefully they can help.

Suzanne Yar Khan is a Toronto-based financial writer.

Originally published in Advisor's Edge

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