There are a range of support services and counselling providers which assist families and friends of missing persons in times of need, either during the disappearance of a loved one or after they have been located.
Specific support for families and friends of missing persons
Relationships Australia provide counselling and relationship support specifically to families and friends of missing persons (and missing persons) living in Queensland (including Northern NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (including Riverina and South Eastern NSW).
Relationships Australian in conjunction with the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre has trained senior experienced counsellors to address these specific support needs.
Phone 1300 364 277 (local call charge)
Families and Friends of Missing Persons Unit
The Families and Friends of Missing Persons Unit, within the Attorney-General's Department of NSW, provides free counselling to families and friends of missing persons in NSW. Counselling is also provided to residents of NSW that have a missing person in another state or territory.
Phone: 1800 227 772
Your General Practitioner (GP)/ Counsellor
Families and friends of missing persons can also seek counselling from their local GP or community service provider. Ask if the service provider is familiar with the national counselling framework Supporting those who are left behind (PDF 1.0MB) which specifically addresses the trauma experienced when someone is missing and the needs of an unresolved loss. This framework is available on request, and is provided free of charge.
General community services
Lifeline provides a national, 24 hour telephone counselling and referral service.
Phone: 13 11 14
Beyondblue is a national, independent, not-for-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, anxiety and related substance misuse disorders in Australia. Beyondblue's work is aimed at achieving an Australian community that understands depression and anxiety, empowering all Australians, at any life-stage, to seek help. Beyondblue offers one-on-one, confidential phone support with a trained mental health professional.
Phone: 1300 22 4636
Beyond blue also offer an online service 4pm to 10pm (AEST) 7 days a week.
Kids Help Line provide a national, 24 hour confidential telephone support service (with trained counsellors) for young Australians aged between five and 18 years.
Phone: 1800 551 800
Healthdirect Australia was established, and is jointly funded, by the Australian Government. Healthdirect provides easy access to free trusted quality health information and advice online and over the phone.
Mindhealthconnect is a national initiative operated by Healthdirect Australia as part National E-Mental Health Strategy. The mindhealthconnect website collects and provides mental health resources and content from the leading health focused organisations in Australia.
Healthdirect registered nurse hotline
If it’s not an emergency and you need health advice, call healthdirect to speak to a registered nurse. They will give you expert advice on how to manage your condition. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you make informed choices anywhere, any time.
Health Direct: 1800 022 222
The WayAhead mental health information service provides advice and local referrals (NSW only) for anyone suffering from a mental illness and their carers. Opening hours are between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday.
Phone: 1300 794 991
SANE Australia provides information on mental illness and related topics. SANE Australia have a dedicated Helpline providing information about mental illness symptoms, treatments, medications, where to go for support and help for carers.
Phone: 1800 18 SANE (1800 18 7263)
Compassionate Friends offer telephone support and coordinate support groups for parents and siblings who have experienced the loss of a child. Compassionate Friends is part of a worldwide self-help organisation.
ACT Branch - Phone: ACT 02 6287 3350
NSW Branch - Phone: NSW 02 9290 2355
QLD (and NT) Branch - Phone: QLD 07 3254 2585
SA Branch - Phone: SA 08 8351 0344
VIC (and TAS) Branch - Phone: VIC 03 9888 4944 – 1800 641 091
WA Branch - Phone: WA 08 9486 8711
Aged care sector
The My Aged Care website has been established by the Australian Government to help you navigate the aged care system.
Alzheimer's Australia is the national peak body for the 500,000 people living with dementia, their families and carers and provides leadership in policy and services. They provide a confidential support service for individuals, families and friends affected by dementia.
Phone: 1800 100 500
Select from the links below for more information about services provided by Alzheimer’s Australia in your state or territory.
The Department of Social Services runs the Reconnect program which uses community-based early intervention services to assist young people aged 12 to 18 years who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, and their families. Reconnect assists young people stabilise their living situation and improve their level of engagement with family, work, education, training and their local community.
Reconnect may be able to provide support once a young missing person is located, which may prevent them from going missing again.
Email: [email protected]
ReachOut provides practical tools and support to help young people get through everything from everyday issues to tough times.
On ReachOut.com, you will find help through:
- community forums
- other stuff, like lists.
Talking Works is an interactive website for young people, aged 14 to 17 years, to raise awareness and assist young people to identify those potentially at risk of going missing and how they can help each other. Talking Works was funded and developed by the Missing Persons Committee NSW Inc in collaboration with the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre and the Families & Friends of Missing Persons Unit.
Please note: Some agencies may require a fee. It is a good idea to check before your enlist their services.
Family Advocacy Networks
The Daniel Morcombe Foundation Inc. is committed to Keeping Kids Safe. Established by parents Bruce and Denise Morcombe in 2005 after their son Daniel was abducted and murdered in December 2003 while waiting to catch a bus on the Sunshine Coast. The Foundation was established as a lasting legacy to Daniel and now has two main aims; to educate children on how to stay safe in a physical and online environment and to support young victims of crime.
Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN) was established in 2013 by Loren O’Keeffe, whose brother Dan went missing in July 2011. MPAN creates awareness for missing persons and provides practical support to those left behind through their online guide of what to do when someone goes missing. MPAN also seeks to establish corporate partnerships that not only increase visibility of the issue but also lessen the financial impact on those searching.
Leave a Light On Inc. was established by Suzie Ratcliffe following the disappearance of her sister Joanne Ratcliffe and Kirste Gordon from the Adelaide Oval in South Australia in 1973. The aim of the charity is to raise awareness of missing persons cold cases in Australia by working alongside other missing persons organisations. The charity aims to promote long-term cases and raise awareness of the need for ongoing support for families and friends dealing with the ambiguous loss of a missing person.
Annually on 21 October, the charity asks the community, no matter where they live, to Leave A Light On in memory of the many missing persons across Australia. Be it a front porch light, an indoor light, or burn a candle in memory, join in to Leave A Light On and brighten their way home.