Missing for longer

There are ways that you can stay connected, keep the search going, and find support from people with similar experiences.

If someone has been missing for a long time

It’s difficult to imagine your person not returning, but some people do remain missing for a long time. You might be feeling hopeful that your person will walk through the door, or you may feel a sense of dread waiting for bad news. Or, it could be both. Living day to day with this worry, and not knowing when it will end, is extremely hard and can impact every area of your life. This type of loss is sometimes called ‘ambiguous loss’.

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

Talk to us

Steps you can take

Everyone with a missing person will experience the situation in their own unique way, but people commonly find that these steps may help you to keep going.

Talk to someone

Talk to trusted family and friends about how you’re feeling. Or, you might want to seek professional support.

Keep the search alive

It can feel difficult after a long time, but there are ways that you can keep the media interested in your person’s appeal.

Find support from peers

There are lots of ways that you can connect with others who have similar personal experiences.

Helpful Guides

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.

Find out more information about how the police search for missing people and review investigations.

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.

Discover whether you could use our tracing service to reconnect with family members you have lost contact with over the years.

Find out whether you are able to appoint a trusted person to use and look after the property and financial affairs of the person who is missing.

Some people may want or need to legally define their missing person as deceased. Learn more about this legal process and what steps you need to take.

Read about how you may wish to mark difficult dates such as birthdays, anniversaries and the day they went missing.

Read more about the unique type of loss that people experience when someone they care about is missing.

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.