Background: ASEAN integration aims to transform the GMS into a single market with free flows of products, services, and skilled labor, as well as investment openness, which will ultimately force regional economic growth. Therefore, this integration is likely to bring about a big change to this area in the new era; it can subsequently cause many problems as well, including mental health issues of the people in this region. The characteristic differences among the GMS member countries in terms of trade and investment, social and cultural values, medical information and technology, and the living and working environment have become major problems affecting mental health disorders, which are usually identified as depression, stress, and substance abuse.
Methods: This review paper is a literature review of the relationship of the determinants affecting GMS mental disorders conducted using the following strategies: 1) collecting data from previous qualitative and quantitative research studies, comparatively analyzing the literature, articles, published papers, and reports relevant to the existing policies on economic, environmental, and healthcare issues obtained from the GMS; and 2) exchanging information from the institutions involved, including reports and papers regarding the determinants affecting mental health disorders of the people in the GMS, which were used to generate the synthesis of the existing knowledge of the mental health and to provide recommendation programs for the GMS people.
Results: Based on the reviewed literature there are four key factors affecting mental health, especially mental health in GMS populations: 1) the living and work environments; 2) trade and investment; 3) technology and medical information; and 4) social and cultural values. The study found that the increasing number of mental health disorders is a big burden for national healthcare spending. Financial issues have become a major key to the wide prevalence of mental disorders in the GMS. Health issues related to mental health disorders are also caused by the environment and other related factors and therefore a stable and a well-balanced environment is an indicator of healthy mental status. In addition, the environment is a way to pursue both physical and mental health because green spaces serve as a mood freshener and can alleviate anxiety, stress, and depression.
Conclusion: Globalization and urbanization should follow sustainable development instructions and concerns about the population's health, especially regarding mental health. These key determinants affect the people's life, especially in terms of mental health thus leading to mental health disorders.