The number of people committing suicide fell by nine percent year-on-year in the first half of 2012 in Belarus, Syarhey Ihumnaw, director of the National Mental Health Center, told reporters in Minsk on October 11.
The suicide rate declined from a "very alarming level" of 35 cases per 100,000 population in 2003 to 22.9 per 100,000 in 2011, according to the expert.
If the trend continues, Belarus' suicide rate may fall below 20 cases per 100,000 in 2014, Mr. Ihumnaw stressed.
He said that the main factors contributing to suicides in Belarus were a lack of psychological counseling and alcohol abuse. Sixty percent of people who die by suicide in Belarus drink alcohol before taking their own lives, the expert said.
The suicide rate among children fell by 20 percent in the last five years, Ina Pyatnitskaya, the health ministry's chief child psychiatrist, said at the news conference.