Victims Services

We're here to help. Call the Victims Access Line 1800 633 063 or Aboriginal Contact Line 1800 019 123 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm)

FFMPS - Taking care of yourself when someone is missing

Focus on your existing skills

Recognise your existing strengths and skills. Write down the things that you know to be helpful during times of stress and make these part of your daily schedule.

Establish a routine

Return to a day-to-day schedule and set small, achievable goals to help restore a sense of predictability and control when everything seems so uncertain.

Do this at a gentle pace and recognise each achievement.

Connect with others and reach out for support

Reach out and welcome support from friends, family, community groups, and support agencies. Don’t be afraid to let others know what you need.

They might be able to help with child-minding, meals, searching, or responding to calls when you need rest. 

Appreciate that everyone responds differently

People have different reactions and beliefs, including within families. This is normal when someone is missing. It can help to talk about these different responses and coping styles.

Some people are open and expressive with their feelings and will want to talk, while others may be more private, and prefer to keep busy. We can respect each other’s reactions even if we don’t always understand them.

Look after your physical health

Remember that rest is crucial. It’s okay to take a break from searching. Try to make time for things you enjoy, like listening to music, seeing friends, reading a book, getting a massage, sitting down with a cup of tea, or getting some sunlight.

Look after your emotional health

Recognise that there is no right or wrong way to feel. Emotions can change rapidly.

It might help to:

  • acknowledge your feelings by writing your thoughts in a journal or talking to someone you trust
  • practise ‘kind self-talk’ and imagine how you might talk to a close friend in a similar situation
  • talk to a Missing Persons counsellor about grounding techniques, self-compassion and mindfulness when feeling overwhelmed.

Take care of your work life and your financial needs

A missing loved one can lead to financial stress. Consider speaking to a financial counsellor. You can find a financial counsellor through the Financial Counsellors Association of NSW –

The National Debt Hotline (1800 007 007) also provides free help managing money and debt and information about emergency relief organisations.

Let your GP and employer know what is happening and if you need leave from work, or adjustments such as reduced hours, more appropriate tasks or breaks. Your workplace may have an Employee Assistance Program.

How can we help you?

Families and Friends of Missing Persons Service provides free counselling, information and referrals to people in NSW. You can also get in touch with us for further information or guidance on self-care.

Last updated:

15 Apr 2024

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