The UAE has claimed the No 1 spot in a new index ranking countries according to positive mental well-being.
The Mental Well-being Index, compiled by Soul Sanctuaries, a company specialising in personalised holidays, was based on factors such as mental health, sunshine hours and kindness.
According to the company’s blog, the UAE’s average of 3,508 sunshine hours per year helped to propel it to the top spot – among other factors – with Indonesia and Mongolia taking second and third places.
"The country also scored highly for the attractiveness of its natural assets, which is unsurprising when you consider this is the place that's home to the Jebel Dhanna, an area of several mountains and beautifully scenic sea cliffs," read a blog entry on the Soul Sanctuaries website.
According to the company, six datasets were considered to assess each country’s mental well-being index score: mental health, happiness, sunshine hours, social life, nature and kindness.
Each element was scored out of five, and added together for the final total. The UAE scored 28 out of 30, the highest of all 96 countries for which data was gathered.
The category of happiness was based on a report by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, whereas the category of social life was based on data gathered by the Legatum Institute's prosperity index, which looked at social and economic transformation.
For positive mental health, in which the UAE scored four out of five, data was based on average prevalence of depression and anxiety, among other mental conditions.
As for kindness, Soul Sanctuaries gave the UAE at five out of five based on data from Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index.
The four out of five score for nature was given based on the World Economic Forum's Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report.
Other countries earning spots in the Mental Well-being Index's top 10 were Kenya, Thailand, Iceland, Malta, Canada and the United States.
Due to an inability to gather all the required data, Bhutan was left out of the index, but Soul Sanctuaries noted the country “prides itself” on having Gross National Happiness, and ultimately said it was a positive place for mental health.