Over 140,000 young people are reported missing each year. Here are just some of the reasons why somebody may think about running away from home.
If any of them sound familiar to how you’ve been feeling recently, it’s important that you talk to someone about it. Whilst running away might seem like a good idea at the time, you can often be putting yourself in danger.
The famous rhyme is a lie – it doesn’t take a genius to work that one out! Sometimes, words can hurt as much as sticks and stones. When people tell us things about ourselves enough times, we can start to believe it.
People who bully are usually going through a really bad time themselves and no matter what they say, it is NEVER your own fault. Even if they are targeting a unique factor about you. Remember, you have done nothing wrong and do not need to change anything about yourself.
Things might feel so bad that you just want to take off and not look back but before you think about running away, try talking to someone you trust and tell them what you’re going through. If you’re being bullied there is help available. You can talk to a digital mentor by joining our Support Community today or check out this article to help you take the first steps…
Being unhappy at home
Whether you live with family, friends, a partner, on your own or in care, home is meant to be a place where you feel safe and happy. When things get hard at home, it can feel tempting to think about getting away from it all by physically removing yourself from the situation.
It might be that you want to leave to get away from someone who is making you miserable or hurting you. There are loads of reasons for being unhappy at home. Written down, some look more serious than others, but the fact is, you’re unhappy and that is making you think about running away. Even small issues can build up over time to become massive. Remember that running away is very rarely a good solution.
Are you looking to leave home now? Read our guide to the best alternatives to running away.
Being hurt, abused or threatened
If you are being hurt or threatened, then it makes sense that you want to get out of where it’s happening. It could be that at first, you thought this person or people cared about you, but the bottom line is they should not be hurting you.
Calling the police is a good option, but if you feel you can’t talk to them, you need to tell someone you trust such as a teacher, friend, family member or social worker.
Runaway Helpline can also help you. If you’ve already run away and feel you can’t make contact with the police directly, they can help you by being on the line when you talk to them. We know that bringing this out into the open takes a lot of courage but you are not alone, you deserve to be safe and there are people who will work hard to support you until you are.
Let’s face it, coming out about your sexuality or gender identity can be hard. Lots of people recognise that being gay or transgender is totally fine and does not change who you are as a person. Unfortunately, despite all the progress that has been made, there are still people who won’t think this. They may react in a way that you don’t like, which can hurt, especially if it’s a friend or family member.
Being in a situation where you don’t feel accepted can make you feel as if you don’t belong there and might make you want to leave. If you’re in this situation, help is available from people who care. The first step is to talk to someone you trust such as a family member or friend. Not everybody has someone they can talk to about this stuff, so you can talk to the digital mentors at Ditch the Label who will help you through this chapter in your life.
Not feeling listened to or cared about
There’s nothing worse than being made to feel like you’re invisible. Someone experiencing this at home might want to run away because they think no one will notice or even care. Well, however, you might be feeling right now, you matter.
It can be easier said than done but try not to bottle everything up and think that no one cares. Keeping something inside can make things worse and being able to speak with someone about your feelings and your concerns can help ease the situation. If you can’t speak to anyone at home about it, try a teacher at school or another adult that you trust. Of course, you can always speak to us at Ditch the Label too!
When we talk about “talking”, we don’t necessarily mean you need to actually say the words. There are services that can help by text, email and instant message. Most are confidential and you could start by saying a little bit about how you’re feeling whilst knowing you can end the call at any time if you feel uncomfortable, then when you’re ready, you can call back.
It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking about running away, are already away from home or back from being away. Runaway Helpline is a free, 24/7 confidential helpline that you can contact by call or text on 116 000 or by email on [email protected], you can also speak with someone online via IM here.
Runaway Helpline have a bunch of online advice too which you can read at your own pace, check out their advice section here.