MENTAL HEALTH – “I sometimes had suicidal thoughts and I’m not proud of them”. On Sunday January 9, Stromae delivered the moving text of Hellon the TF1 news set. In the process, a spike in calls was recorded at 3114, the national suicide prevention number launched four months ago.
In all, this call number open since October 1 against the backdrop of the health crisis recorded 34,000 communications, according to figures communicated this Friday, February 4 on the eve of National Suicide Prevention Day.
A Stromae effect
“In four months, there were 34,000 calls to 3114, with two peaks, around the end of year celebrations, and after the passage of Stromae” in the 8 p.m. newspaper of TF1 where the Belgian singer revealed hell, title of his future album evoking “suicidal thoughts”, we said to the Ministry of Health.
As many as 10 to 15 percent of those calls resulted in Samu being taken care of, AFP was told.
Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the free national number is dedicated to people with suicidal thoughts, but also to their loved ones and to those bereaved by suicide. The 169 respondents are hospital professionals, supervised by psychiatrists.
Currently, there are 11 centers in the regions, others are to come this year. And the 3114 will soon be enriched with a “chat” service.
A few days after the widely noticed performance of Stromae – 7.3 million viewers were in front of their TV screen, more than 5 million people viewed the sequence on Twitter – the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) had himself welcomed the speech of the singer.
“Thank you Stromae for tackling the difficult topic of suicide on your latest album. It is so important to ask for help if you have difficulties and to support those who need help”, wrote Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Twitter.
Asked about the impact of his song on the Belgian antenna of RTL radio on January 31, Stromae confided that opening the dialogue on mental health was not “at all the initial intention”: “What m interest in my music is above all to touch others. If in addition to that, it brings back a subject that can sometimes be taboo, so much the better. Let’s talk about it!”
9000 suicides per year in France
With around 9,000 suicides per year, France has “one of the highest rates in Europe”, according to Public Health France. An average that dates from before the Covid-19. “The health crisis has acted as a catalyst for mental health problems, especially among certain specific audiences such as young people”, notes the ministry in a press release.
According to the latest delivery of the Coviprev study initiated by Public Health France, 9% of French people have had suicidal thoughts during the year, a high level, 4 points higher than the level outside the epidemic.
The 3114, launched six months earlier than expected in the face of the health situation, has completed an arsenal of devices, such as VigilanS, created in 2015, which tracks people who have attempted suicide, measures to prevent “suicidal contagion” or training courses, renovated in 2019.
Suicide prevention is a priority for the ministry, which included it in its 2018 Mental Health and Psychiatry Roadmap, he said in the press release.
During the Assizes of mental health and psychiatry, at the end of September 2021, Emmanuel Macron announced a series of measures for a sector which had said itself “on the verge of implosion”, without completely satisfying the actors.
The 3114isa anonymous phone number, reachable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, if you need help or if you are faced with the suicide of a loved one. More information on the website of the Ministry of Solidarity and Health.
See also on The HuffPost: In psychiatric emergencies, confinement leaves traces