Support services

Can help you and your family when someone you know goes missing.

There are a range of support services available that may be helpful in providing you with support and guidance.

Everyone’s experience is unique. There is no ‘rule book’ when it comes to missing persons, but talking about it can go some way to managing day-to-day activities.

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Directory of Services

NSW ATTORNEY GENERAL’S DEPARTMENT—FAMILY AND FRIEND OF MISSING PERSONS UNIT (FFMPU)
The FFMPU provides counselling and support from trained professionals to families and friends of missing people. The Unit hosts support group meetings and family forums to help bring families together. Support is available face to face, online and via social media. The FFMPU is funded by the NSW government and is part of Victim Services.

Telephone:
(02) 8688 8173
1800 227 772 (toll free)

Website: www.missingpersons.justice.nsw.gov.au

CENTRECARE
Centercare is a WA based not-for-profit community service offering counselling and support services.

Telephone:
(08) 9325 6644

Website: www.centrecare.com.au

COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS
Compassionate Friends is a service offering 24-hour phone support, grief support groups, and associated literature.

Website: www.thecompassionatefriends.org.au/
(lists State and Territory contact details)

DADS IN DISTRESS
Dads in Distress offers a range of services that aims to provide help and hope, and harm prevention for separated Dads and their families.

Website: www.dadsindistress.asn.au

GRIEFLINE
GriefLine is Australia's only dedicated grief helpline service that provides counselling support services free of charge to individuals and families. These include telephone support; online counselling; in-house one-on-one counselling; education and training and health support programs.

Telephone:
1300 845 745
(03) 9935 7400

Website: www.griefline.org.au

KIDS HELP LINE
Trained counsellors provide a 24-hour, confidential, anonymous, national telephone counselling service for young Australians aged 5-25. The site also includes information for parents, carers, and teachers.

Telephone:
1800 551 800 (toll free)

Website: www.kidshelpline.com.au

LIFELINE
A national, 24-hour telephone counselling and referral service.

Telephone:
13 11 14

Website: www.lifeline.org.au

GOOD GRIEF
The Good Grief flagship program, Seasons for Growth, is a program for children, young people or adults who have experienced significant change or loss. The program explores how we can learn to live with and grow from our experiences.

Telephone:
(02) 8912 2700

Website: www.goodgrief.org.au

RELATIONSHIPS AUSTRALIA
Relationships Australia is a leading provider of relationship support services for individuals, families and communities. They aim to support all people in Australia to achieve positive and respectful relationships; they offer counselling, mediation and education programs.

Telephone:
1300 364 277

Website: www.relationships.org.au

BEYOND BLUE
Beyond Blue is a national, independent, not-for-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, anxiety and related substance misuse disorders in Australia.

Telephone:
1300 224 636

Website: www.beyondblue.org.au

SANE Australia
SANE Australia provides information on mental illness and related topics. SANE Australia have a dedicated Helpline providing information about mental illness symptoms, treatments, medications, where to go for support and help for carers.

Telephone:
1800 187 263

Website: www.sane.org

BLACK DOG INSTITUTE
The Black Dog Institute is dedicated to understanding, preventing and treating mental illness. Their website provides advice on how/where to get support.

Website: www.blackdoginstitute.org.au

ALZHEIMERS ASSOCIATION
A support service for individuals, families and friends affected by dementia

Telephone:
1800 100 500

Website: www.fightdementia.org.au

Personal health and wellbeing

When someone goes missing it is important to remember to make some time for yourself and your family. You should consider the following:

  • Physical needs: Are you sleeping enough, eating healthy, exercising where possible?
  • Emotional needs: Are you experiencing unexpected emotional changes? Do you need to seek professional help, or talk to someone about how you’re feeling/what you’re experiencing? Acknowledging your feelings is important for best management.
  • Communicating with others: Are you reaching out to others, accepting support offered, and letting friends and family know how they can help?
  • Taking care of each other: Are you talking about your feelings with your family, encouraging children to do the same, and arranging activities with friends, neighbours, relatives or colleagues?
  • One day at a time: Are you keeping your routine and making sound decisions? Personal judgement may be affected when making significant life changes. Routine and everyday tasks, can help you to remain grounded during unexpected and emotional situations.

If there are children in your family affected by the disappearance of a missing person, notify the children’s school. School counsellors may be a helpful resource in supporting them, and will know what to do in this situation.

Together with the NSW-based Families and Friends of Missing Persons Unit NSW (FFMPU), the NMPCC has developed a series of fact sheets about supporting families and friends during the experience of a person’s disappearance.

You may also find it useful to seek counsel from your General Practitioner. It’s important they understand, however, that the ‘ambiguous’ loss of a missing person is very different to grieving for the loss of someone who has died, where the outcome is known. When someone goes missing, the uncertainty surrounding what has happened to them, whether they are safe and well, or whether they have met with foul play, can be all-consuming; you may cycle through a range of different feelings each day dependent on what you think has happened to them on any given day. For this reason, the NMPCC developed a support framework for families and friends of missing persons: Supporting those who are left behind (PDF 1MB). You can request a copy from the NMPCC and provide this to your General Practitioner.

You can also turn to support services. And remember, the disappearance of someone you love is a unique experience.

Writing and remembrance for missing persons

Finding ways to appropriately remember your missing person can be difficult. Consider visiting a public place of remembrance dedicated to missing persons:

If you know of any other spaces dedicated to the memory of missing persons, please contact us so they can be added to our list. You may also decide to create your own temporary memorial that you can visit or use.

Writing about your experience or keeping a diary can also help, and potentially help others going through a similar experience. While you may wish to write for therapeutic reasons, you may also want to consider sharing some of your ‘memos’ with newspapers, magazines, or on blogs so that others can better understand the uncertainty surrounding the disappearance of a family member or friend.

Missing person - Karl Melo-Richards

Karl MELO-RICHARDS

Karl Melo-Richards, then aged 25, was last seen about 1:30pm on Friday 2 September 2016, at his home on Broome Street, Maroubra. He was reported missing after his younger...

Missing Person Linda Stilwell

Linda Stilwell

Linda Stilwell was seven years of age when she disappeared around 4.00pm on 10th August 1968 whilst playing in the vicinity of Little Luna Park located on the St Kilda...

Missing Person Juan Philip Morgan

Juan MORGAN

Juan Morgan was 15 years of age when he went missing in 1992. Police identified him as missing in 1999 when investigating the disappearances of David McWilliams, Leo Daly and...

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