Home > MENTAL HEALTH > Runaways


Who are the runaways?

Runaways are teenagers who leave home without telling their family members and with the intention of not coming back. They will go anywhere, as long as it is a place away from home.

Why do teenagers run away?

Teenagers run away for various reasons such as:

  • Domestic violence or home issues. Examples:
    • Being physically , emotionally or sexually abused
    • Disagreement with parents e.g. choice of boyfriends, lack of freedom
    • Quarrelling parents
    • Being neglected by parents
  • Peer pressure. Examples:
    • Inability to conform with their demands
    • Not being accepted
    • Being bullied
  • Problems in school. Examples:
    • High expectations from teachers
    • Poor school performance
    • Harsh punishment
  • Domestic violence or home issues. Examples:
  • Peer pressure. Examples:
  • Problems in school. Examples:

Are you thinking of running away?

Runaways often have these features:

  • Disturbed or poor sleep
  • Change in appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Temperamental
  • Misbehavior e.g. truancy, stealing or smoking

Can you prevent yourself from running away?

YES, you can! There are people willing to listen and help you. (Even if you don’t think so). These people are your:

  • Relatives
  • Siblings
  • Neighbors
  • Peers
  • School counselors
  • Religious teachers

What can happen if you do not seek help?

You will very likely end up being a runaway yourself ! As a runaway you are bound to be trapped into:

  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Pornography
  • Prostitution
  • Crime

Other complications that can arise are:

  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Unwanted pregnancies
  • HIV infection

Runaways can also end up having psychiatric disorders such as:

What else can you do?

Instead of running away, there are other safer alternatives:

  • Stay with a trusted friend or relative until the pressure cools off
  • Talk to your parents, come to a compromise
  • If you are being abused, make a police report
  • Report to a Social Welfare officer, to seek temporary shelter
  • Consult your school counselors, if you are having problems at school
  • Report to parents and school authority, if you are being bullied
  • Spend more time studying, if your school performance is poor
  • Call the nearest helpline
  • Consult a doctor
Last Reviewed : 03 September 2008
Writer : Dr. Fauzi binti Ismial
Reviewer : Dr. Selva Ratnasingam