• This Friday is National Suicide Prevention Day.

    Three weeks ago, for the first time on television, a star lifted the veil on his suicidal ideas at 8 p.m. on TF1.

  • An act of courage that could help some to overcome modesty to talk about their dark thoughts to their loved ones, to an association or to a health professional.

  • The first signals seem to indicate that a "Stromae effect" is currently taking place, the 3114, free toll number for suicide prevention ensuring that the number of calls has increased.

“I've had suicidal thoughts at times and I'm not proud of that.

We sometimes believe that this is the only way to silence them”… These words from


, the Belgian singer Stromae made them discover in primetime, on TF1 on Sunday January 9, facing the camera.

A performance that caused a lot of ink to flow, some seeing it as an embarrassing moment, others a welcome release of speech.

Even healthy.

AMAZING #Stromae!

Thank you for this poignant title and your testimony +

If you too have thoughts that make you live hell, in France ☎️ national #suicide prevention number ➡️3114.

Open 24/7 professional listening, free @3114_appel#enparlerpeuttoutchanger https://t.co/jLgiwP72Wx

— AJPJA (@AssoAJPJA) January 10, 2022

Because if many celebrities have exposed their cancer to the general public, from Bernard Tapie to Florent Pagny, mental health is not a field that French stars often approach.

Beyond the television moment, many health professionals and association volunteers hope that there will be a “Stromae effect”.

Breaking the taboo especially among young people

Especially since the mental health of many French people has been degraded by two years of health crisis: according to the latest Coviprev survey by Public Health France, in December 2021, 18% of French people showed signs of a depressive state, i.e. eight points more than before the epidemic.

And for young people lacking perspective, human contact and festive gatherings, for whom suicide is the second cause of death, the approach is all the more welcomed.

He was also applauded by the director of the WHO, many shrinks and associations that support people in distress.

Thank you @stromae for raising the difficult topic of #suicide on your latest album.

So important to reach out for help if you are struggling and to support those who need help.https://t.co/A4kqcE4VBl

— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) January 12, 2022

Among them, Nightline offers help lines for students in Lyon, Lille, Paris, Saclay, Toulouse and soon Angers with 200 trained young volunteers, between 9 p.m. and 2:30 a.m.

“To say “I have suicidal thoughts” in public is something very rare, underlines Florian Tirana, president of Nightline.

We promote this message: we have to talk about these problems… not necessarily on TF1 of course!

This intervention at prime time on such a taboo subject had the effect of a bomb.

“Especially since it is a subject that is inherently sad and loaded with received ideas.

Some believe that it only concerns weak people and that if we talk about suicide, it increases the number of suicides, ”underlines

David Masson, psychiatrist at the Nancy Psychotherapeutic Center.

Young people can identify with him

“This is a milestone in the history of suicide prevention, adds Charles-Edouard Notredame, psychiatrist for children and adolescents at the Lille University Hospital.

This is the first time that a personality of Stromae's stature has explicitly testified to his suicidal thoughts on television.

This will undoubtedly free up speech.

Especially since the young man ticks several boxes to carry this message high.

Idol of young people, he shows not only that we can talk about it simply, but also that we can get by.

“Normally, he has no reason to have suicidal thoughts;

on paper he has all the criteria for success, adds David Masson.

And yet, he too had mental health problems.

“That it is a man reinforces the message, remarks Florian Tirana.

Very few men call us, they sometimes find it difficult to express their feelings.

And Charles-Edouard Notredame summarizes: "There are two identification effects that work well: horizontal, "I identify myself all the better if the person looks like me" and the vertical identification effect, especially in young people: "I particularly identify with someone I admire".

“Double card, therefore.

"It feels like there's a 'Stromae effect'"

This televised stunt raised hopes that this confession encourages some people to come out of silence to seek help.

Three weeks later, certain signals seem to point in this direction.

On the Spotify streaming platform,


still prances in third place.

According to the National Syndicate of Phonographic Publishing, it remained 1st in the top of the week of January 21.

But has the cultural bomb been transformed into a societal gesture?

“It's a little early to say, warns David Masson.

This joins a number of concordant bundles: we talk more and more about mental health in the media, among politicians.

I think this may have facilitated the request of some patients who told me "I have the right to talk about it".

Who allowed themselves to consult a psychiatrist, talk to their GP, call 3114. I don't know if it's a consequence of Stromae or not.


Indeed, while there are many associations and resources, since October 1, 2021 there has been a listening service, 3114, a national suicide prevention number, which allows people in distress or their worried relatives to contact free professionals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

"We have the impression that there is a" Stromae effect ", advances Charles-Edouard Notredame, deputy coordinator of 3114. Several people have referred to his appearance on television and this gave them the courage to call.

There has also been an increase in the number of calls in recent weeks.

However, suicidal behavior is traditionally very important during the holidays.

And we did not observe a decrease in calls after the holidays, rather the opposite.

Is this increase due to chance or a "stromae effect"


Hard to say.

Especially since we are a very young device, there is no benchmark to compare call figures.


Another difficulty: the content of the calls remains anonymous and confidential.

Florian Tirana made the rounds of the five listening lines of Nightline and none brought back information on the passage of Stromae.

"But that doesn't mean there aren't any," he explains.

When we debrief the calls, we give minimal elements, so it will not come out in the summary.


Missed opportunity to disseminate resources?

Still, some regret that this skilfully orchestrated performance was not an opportunity to distribute precious resources*.

David Masson, psychiatrist has also split a forum in this sense in the Huffington Post.

"It was perhaps not the role of Stromae, but if TF1 had put a banner below with the number 3114 in front of 7 million viewers, it would have been the apotheosis", he summarizes at

20 Minutes.

Even if social networks participated in the after-sales service.

"They were a very important relay in terms of promoting resources," he admits.

The allodoctor site has also taken up my tweet by giving resources.


On National Suicide Prevention Day this Friday, many hope that this information and resources will receive a new spotlight.

“The ministry does not have a monopoly on communication, ironically Charles-Edouard Notredame, also coordinator of the Papageno program, which acts for the prevention of suicide contagion and access to care through communication.

Of course, there is official information on 3114, but anyone can stream resources.

What Stromae raised, it must be accompanied by a collective mobilization.



Stromae at TF1's "20 Hours": The secrets of preparing and filming this TV moment


“We have a window of opportunity to change the way we look at mental health”, assures Frank Bellivier, ministerial delegate for psychiatry

* Several numbers can help: 3114, SOS friendship (, for 12-25 year olds (, (

  • TF1

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  • Stromae

  • Psychology

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