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  • Please help me!

    Its not going to be my first time running away. Two years ago, I ran away for a day before my suicide attempt (I was caught and rushed to the ER). Then I tried at least four other times over the last year. Everytime, my parents file a missing person report. The cops take me back everytime. Why can't people understand that I CANNOT go back because I HATE it? I'm obviously running away for a good reason.

    Everything I do disappoints my parents. I'm losing all my friends because of something stupid I did. I've gotten myself into a lot of trouble over the last few years. I have emotionally disconnected myself from everyone and would just like to leave to be on my own. I can't stand living here any longer. I don't know what to do or where to go, but I know that I have to get away somehow. I don't care how. No one understands my situation and I have no one to talk to anymore.

    Question: To buy a train ticket or bus ticket, how old do you have to be? Preferably around the DC area. Or Maryland. Whichever. Do you need an ID?

    And because I've run away so many times.. what will they do? Will the cops refer me to a group home or AWOL center? Because honestly, I'd want that right now. I want to be anywhere but home.

    Please help me. I don't know what to do.

  • #2
    Re: Please help me!

    Thanks for reaching out to the National Runaway Switchboard. It sounds like you have a lot going on right now and hope we can provide you some guidance.

    We’re really sorry to hear that you’re feeling disconnected from everyone and everything. It sounds like you’ve had a rough couple of years and we can’t begin to imagine all that you’re going through. We do, however, want you to know that we’re here to try to help you in any way we can.

    You asked a few very specific questions, which we can answer generally. When it comes to buying a train ticket or bus ticket, we’re not entirely sure what the rules are concerning how old you have to be and if they require ID. Greyhound does have a national hotline that may be able to better answer that question, #1-800-231-2222. We do know that you have to be at least 16 years old to ride a Greyhound bus unescorted, but aren’t sure the logistics of purchasing a ticket.

    We’re assuming that the second set of questions is concerning what the cops will do if you’re found on the run. We don’t know specific state laws or procedures, but do have a general idea of how things work. For youth under the age of 18, in most states, each time they run away they are considered a runaway. If a youth reported as a runaway is picked up, they are generally returned home. If caught out of state, often the youth is placed in juvenile detention or a local shelter until transportation home can be arranged. Some states and areas do have laws that can provide more consequences (such as probation, juvenile detention, group homes) to a youth that habitually runs away, but this is often based on the individual police department’s discretion. Unfortunately we can’t give you specific information about what would happen because the laws vary so much. The only exception to when the police don’t return a youth home is if there is abuse or neglect, in which case they should get Child Protective Services involved instead. Is there any reason you don’t feel safe at home? If so, has CPS ever been called? If they have and you still feel unsafe, you are always welcome to call them again. This is something we’d could help you with if you didn’t want to do so yourself.

    It sounds like you’re determined to leave and just want to cover your bases before you do so. It’s great that you’re looking into these things beforehand. If you are able to get a bus or train ticket somewhere, do you have a plan of how you will survive? There are several runaway and homeless youth (RHY) shelters around the US. One thing to keep in mind about these services is that they do have parental notification policies which sometimes require the parents to be notified immediately and other times a youth can stay for 72 hours before this happens. Many of the organizations, however, do have drop-in centers where youth can get food, clothes, do laundry, etc, that do not have to notify parents in order to use their services. Here’s a link to a list of different RHY organizations that may be helpful: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/fysb/co ... locate.htm.

    You did mention that you’ve previously attempted suicide. We’re really sorry to hear that you felt like that was your only option. If you’re feeling suicidal in the future, we hope you know you can always call us or the National Suicide Hotline #1-800-273-TALK to talk about what you’re going through.

    Just so you’re aware, we’re a completely confidential hotline. We’re not here to help you runaway, but we’re also not here to tell you not to. We’re here to listen to you and try to help you come up with options. We would also be able to help connect you to local resources if needed, for instance if you wanted to find out more information about any of the programs on that link we provided, we could help you call them. We also have several services that can help runaway youth communicate with their parents confidentially. We’re here 24/7 and would be happy to talk to you about all of this more in depth. We certainly hope you’re able to come up with a plan that you’re comfortable with. Remember that there are people out there that care and want to help. You’re not alone in all this! Call us anytime.
    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

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