Last year the Highlands had over 1,000 missing persons investigations, which has prompted Kate Forbes MSP to call for greater awareness and support for missing persons and those they leave behind.
The Scottish Government launched a new National Missing Persons Framework last year, which laid out the responsibilities for professionals to support missing children and adults, although the guidance is not statutory.
At Holyrood, Coatbridge and Chryston MSP Fulton MacGregor has been campaigning to ensure better implementation across the country.
In 2017/18 over 23,000 missing episodes were reported to Police Scotland, with almost two thirds of those reports related to children and young people – many of whom are at risk of grooming, exploitation or abuse.
More than half of the children who go missing in Scotland will be in the care system, meaning they are at a particularly high risk.
Adults who go missing are also highly vulnerable and may face serious risks, and it is thought that up to 80 per cent will be experiencing mental health issues.
Research shows that as many as one in 10 adult missing incidents involve a person living with dementia.
Suicide is also a very real risk, and it is estimated that one in every twenty missing adults will have gone with the intention to take their own life.
Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch said: “It’s deeply upsetting to see how many people are reported missing in the Highlands each year.
“The consequences for the friends and family left behind must be devastating as they battle the pain of not knowing where their loved ones are.
“This is not something we often discuss or hear about, but it’s happening across communities.
“I fully support my colleague Fulton MacGregor’s efforts to raise awareness of this and ensure there is more help for the children and adults who are missing and the families left behind.”