35,000 people go missing in Australia each year but what can we do to help? Young people account for more than half all people reported missing. Approximately one-third of missing persons go missing more than once. Trying to find a missing person in Australia, involves trying to figure out why they went missing in the first place.
Missing Persons in Australia is an issue that should affect us all. Where most missing people are usually found, occasionally some never make it home. Because of this, it’s important to know the reasons why.
It’s no surprise that people go missing for various reasons, but research suggests that patterns do exist. Some reasons more prominent than others are:
1. Mental Health
Mental health emerges as a consistent theme in many missing person cases in Australia. Depression and anxiety are the two most common conditions. Research also found that mental health was more associated with adults who had gone missing rather than young people.
Australian research has uncovered that common reasons for going missing could include a want to escape from their current situation. This desire to runaway might stem form financial debt, relationship woes or family disputes. Whatever the reason, the missing person feels their only option is to flee.
3. Drugs and Alcohol
Being drunk or under the influence of drugs is also a reoccurring contributor to missing Australians. Research found that individuals who self-medicate with alcohol or drugs are more likely to feel the need to escape without thinking about the consequences to family or friends.
4. Family dysfunction
When police were given an online questionnaire about the main reasons young people go missing, their response indicated that family dysfunction and conflict/violence were all common factors.
For many young people, bullying is a big factor in missing persons cases. These type of problems usually originate from school and include issues with peers/teachers. Young people can often feel the impact of social isolation most strongly. It’s important that young people know that there are people they can talk to either at home, at school, or elsewhere and that there is space to safely vent about their problems and issues.
6. Told to go
Believe it or not, but UK research indicates one in five young missing persons had actually been told to leave by a parent or guardian. We can all get carried away in the heat of the moment, but our youth are vulnerable and need our help. If your teen is acting out you need to address why.