How can we stop 35,000 nightmares?

EDITORIAL: Losing a loved one to violence or accident can be enough to destroy the lives of those left behind.

To lose a loved one and never know what happened to them would be a living nightmare.

According to the Missing Persons Advocacy Network, 35,000 Australians go missing every year.

That's one every 15 minutes.

The group estimates that at fewest 12 others are directly affected by a disappearance.

You can find out more about the group on www.mpan.com.au.

And in this Missing Persons Week, our police service is attacking the problem of children going missing, urging parents to "see the signs before they disappear".

Police say almost 4500 children under 18 were reported missing in Queensland in 2011-12.

They want people to recognise the warning signs and know what to do.

The police service has endorsed 1800 Reverse (1800 738 3773) - a tool that allows people to check-up and check-in - to give families a back-up plan. It works on mobile phones (even if they're out of credit) and payphones.

And they've adapted an FBI smartphone app, the Child ID App, to help parents provide critical information to police should their child ever go missing.

Many - some say most - disappearances are connected with mental illness.

It is yet another reason to stop the deadly silence surrounding emotional and mental diseases.



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