Not knowing where someone is or when you will see them again, and living day to day waiting for news, is an experience that can be painful to endure.
People who have experienced someone go missing describe the feeling as physical, stomach churning with feelings of dread and panic. Many people struggle with the loss of control.
It may feel hard to focus, whilst also being a very busy time with lots to think about. Some struggle to eat or sleep. Many people explain they feel hopeful for news and for their loved one to return. Others experience feelings of grief and despair while they wait for the sad news they expect. Many people tell us that they feel all of these things at different times.
When someone stays missing for a long time, the unresolved nature of loss, means people often feel stuck. When someone does return, families have also described feelings such as relief, anger, guilt, frustration and worry.
We know it’s hard carrying on with normal life while waiting for someone to come back. Read our guidance, and advice from other family members.
Read our tips on how to explain what has happened to your community and networks.
Read more about how to help and care for people when someone in their life goes missing.
Read about how you may wish to mark difficult dates such as birthdays, anniversaries and the day they went missing.
Find out what you can do if you are concerned about your loved one because you think they might leave again.
Read more about the unique type of loss that people experience when someone they care about is missing.
We know lots of households who report a missing person, have children within them, and that the impact of worrying about someone being missing can be significant for a child.
Find out more about our community of families and formerly missing people who connect with each other to provide support, advice and a listening ear.