Coming back

It can be difficult to walk back through the door or to make contact. We're here to help.

Coming back and making contact

Picking up the phone, walking through the door, or telling the police where you are can be the hardest thing to do. It may take a while for you to feel ready to return. Home might not be the best place for you right now. And returning doesn’t always mean that everything is fine; often is it just the first step.

For some people, home doesn’t feel safe. Being away could have been tough; things might have happened that you need to talk about. Some people feel guilty when they return. It might feel easy to put a brave face. People around you may be unsure about what is best, and what you need. If you can’t talk at home, try and find someone you are comfortable to talk to.

We’re here to support you, for free and in confidence. Call or text 116 000

Talk to us

Steps you can take

It's hard to come home. One of the reasons for coming back may have been pressure from family and friends or being searched for by the police. It may not feel like it was completely your choice. How you feel is important.

Give yourself time

You might be feeling pressured to carry on as if nothing happened. If you feel you aren’t ready, it’s okay. Give yourself some time and try not to do things for other people that you don’t want to.

Talk to someone

Talking can help you to process what happened, and think about what you can do now. If there is somebody in your life that you trust, ask whether they would be able to talk to you. If there isn’t, talk to us.

Say yes to help

Don’t feel like you need to turn down offers of help. You may feel guilty that people were worried or spent time looking for you. People who care about you will want to help. You are entitled to feel happy and to be supported.

Make sure you're safe and well

The police Safe and Well Check it to make sure you’re not seriously hurt or unwell. Even if they decide you are “well”, you may not feel this way yourself. You might be in pain, physically or mentally, and this can be hard to manage when people think you are okay. You have a right to be happy and well. Talk about how you feel, and try to get the help you need from a specialist agency.

Address the things that made you leave

If there are any specific things that drove you to leave, think about what you can do to make them better. Are the things you want changing in your control to change? Sometimes, professional help is the right thing to do. If it is related to a person, could you talk to them and tell them how you feel?

Make sure agencies know you're home

Police and any other services you’ve been working with will need to know you are back. There may be some things they need to ask or speak to you about. It will help if they can understand what’s going on for you, but we know you may need some time or support in talking about it.

Helpful Guides

Read our guidance on how to speak about what has happened, the reasons you left, where you went and what you need now.

Understand what steps you need to take to no longer be listed as a missing person with the police.

People sometimes find themselves wanting and planning to leave again. Home might not be an easy place to be. Find out what things you can do before making that decision to go again.

Police and your family may have created appeals to help find you. Now that you’re back, you might find this intrusive or feel like it’s hard to move on. Find out what you can do to get this content removed.

Before closing your investigation, the police must do a Safe and Well check to make sure you are okay. If you are under 18 you will also be offered an interview to talk about your missing situation.

Find a list of support services, helplines and people you can speak to locally who might be able to help you.

Other helpful stuff

Sign up to be a Digital Search Hero

We have launched a regular email so that you can be aware of new missing person appeals and share them far and wide! We are also calling on all Heroes to be the eyes and ears for Missing People on the ground. Your sighting of a missing person could make a difference in a crucial time.