Most missing people are found or return in the first few days. If someone doesn't come back quickly, at some point you might want to publicise the case.
This is sometimes but not always a good idea, so please follow our advice on posters and publicity.
Posters and social media
You can put up posters in the local area or where you think the person might have gone missing.
The police can work with the charity Missing People to help you create official missing person posters to download and print. Missing People can take calls from people who might have seen someone on their missing persons number 116 000.
You can also use social media like Facebook and Twitter. The police might publicise your case on their social media channels.
Do not use your own phone number
Do not put your own phone number on posters or social media as you may get fraudulent calls. Ask the police for a number to use, or work with Missing People and use their 116 000 number.
Once a missing person's information is made public (for example on social media), it can be impossible to get rid of all mentions of it online after they get back.
This can cause problems for people later in life, especially for children as they become adults.
Be careful what you share, especially anything that tells people that the missing person is vulnerable in some way. This could help people who want to exploit them.
In most cases all you need to share is a person's first name and photo.
You could approach the local newspaper, radio or TV station to see if they will publish or broadcast a story about your case.
They might not tell the story in the way you would like, or might not publish the story at all. They might approach other people for information about the missing person.
If you are unhappy with something that’s been published or journalists' behaviour, talk to them and ask them to make a correction or change.
For example if journalists are contacting friends and family who don’t want to be contacted, you can first ask them to stop.