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Missing persons network MPAN launches therapeutic language tool that helps affected family navigate ambiguous loss

Melbourne, Australia – The Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN), an organisation that provides creative initiatives that humanise missing loved ones and engages the public through strategic communications, has partnered with creative technology agency, whiteGREY, to launch ‘The Hope Narratives’, a therapeutic language tool designed to help affected family and friends navigate ambiguous loss.

Ambiguous loss is a unique and harrowing type of grief experienced by the loved ones of long-term missing persons, which is considered by many psychologists to be the most traumatic type of loss. Unlike standard grief, it is a continual loss, complicating and delaying the grieving process, leading to unresolved grief.

Launching ahead of National Missing Persons Week, which is celebrated from 31 July to 6 August, ‘The Hope Narratives’ is a tool for putting the emotional complexity of ambiguous loss into words, using the lived experiences of others.

Developed in collaboration with global ambiguous loss expert, Dr. Sarah Wayland, the new tool is designed to help people find a way through grief, and to know they are not alone. The cards combine over 500 collective years of experience into 145 modular statements, which connect to become over 1.4 million possible Hope Narratives.

Loren O’Keeffe, founder and CEO at MPAN, said, “When a loved one goes missing, there is no right way to deal with it. You oscillate from hope to hopelessness, overwhelmed by the physical, mental and emotional burden, often feeling no one understands what you’re going through. By supporting loved ones with this very special set of cards, our aim is to address complicated grief that’s historically been a misunderstood area of mental health for thousands of Australians.”

Meanwhile, Joe Hill, executive creative director at whiteGREY Melbourne, noted that MPAN’s mission to support loved ones of missing persons and Dr. Wayland’s incredible work on finding hope within ambiguous loss defines a uniquely creative space.

“The Hope Narratives is a response to this space: a tool designed to help a community, made from the lived experiences of that community. We are incredibly proud to have played a role in the development of a narrative tool that will not only help the loved ones of missing persons, but will go on to set a precedent for ways this complex and devastating type of loss can be addressed around the world,” said Hill.