Authors: Leonie Jacques, ACT
Event: 2009 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Averting Tragedies
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Thirty five thousand people are reported missing to police and non-police agencies each year in Australia. Research conducted by the Australian Institute of Criminology and launched in 2008 identified that people living with a mental illness are a key group at risk of becoming a missing person. For example, in 2005 – 06 both the South Australian and New South Wales Police recorded that more than one quarter of reported incidents involved missing persons with mental health problems. The other two demographic groups most at risk of becoming a missing person are our youth and our elderly with culture also identified as a potentially significant risk factor. The National Missing Persons Coordination Centre has developed partnerships with key agencies in the mental health field to facilitate heightened understanding of the links between mental illness and missing persons. Exploratory work has also been conducted with the Chinese and Vietnamese communities to assist in addressing this significant issue. A key objective is to identify connections leading to strategies and initiatives that will address this crucial link thus enhancing responses to individuals and families.