Signs that someone is thinking of leaving home

This free guide will explore the signs to look out for that indicate someone might be thinking about leaving home or needs help. If you recognise any of these signs in someone you know, reach out to them and encourage them to get support today.

If you or a loved one is struggling, please reach out to our free, confidential Helpline on 116 000 or use our online chat here. 

1. Becoming more distant

Maybe you’ve noticed that your friend or family member is not answering your texts or keeps cancelling plans you have made? If this is out of character for them, they might be going through something difficult or feeling low. Unfortunately, 80% of missing people have diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health issues and isolating yourself from others is a clear sign that someone might be struggling.

2. Losing interest in things they used to love

Someone who is having issues with their mental health will often lose interest in activities and things they used to love. They may also be less motivated to with their normal routine.

3. Not coping with everyday tasks

As mentioned above, someone experiencing depression may become overwhelmed with everyday tasks and struggle with their normal routine. They may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms as a way to numb this such as alcohol, drugs or gambling.

4. Restless, agitated or hopeless

Those who are struggling may be more restless and agitated than usual and voice frustrations at mental health professionals. They may also not know where to turn for help leaving them feeling hopeless and like they have no choice but to go missing. One of the most common reasons for adults and children contacting our helpline is mental health issues, including suicide and self harm.

5. They have experienced a hardship or challenging experience

If someone you know has just gone through a hardship, they may be struggling and need support. Some issues closely linked to missing include financial problems and relationship breakdowns. Learn more here. 

6. Feeling unsafe at home

If you know someone is feeling unsafe at home or has an unstable home environment, they might be considering leaving. More than half of missing children have experienced neglect or abuse at home and 1 in 50 missing adults left to escape domestic violence. Domestic abuse is also one of the most common reasons for people contacting our helpline. If this is the case, it is important your loved one knows they are not alone and there are lots of agencies and services who can help. 

How to support someone who is thinking of leaving home

The issue of missing is very complex and every missing experience is unique. The above offers some insight into the most common signs to look out for if someone is thinking of leaving home, but everyone is different. Many people leave home because they see no alternative and feel overwhelmed with their current situation. The best thing you can do is reach out to your loved one, let them know they are not alone and encourage them to reach out for help.

Our free, confidential Helpline is here 7 days a week to provide non-judgement support. We can offer advice, put people in touch with other agencies who can help, or simply listen. Whatever is needed.