Practitioners in this industry include physicians, psychologists, social workers, and other mental health professionals who diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, addiction, and other mental illnesses. Major companies include the mental health divisions of large hospital chains.
Demand is driven primarily by the number of patients requiring mental health services. Profitability depends on patients' ability to pay and insurers' willingness to reimburse for services. Large practices may enjoy economies of scale related to administration and back-office operations. Small practices can compete effectively by developing referral networks. The US industry is highly fragmented: in each of the two main segments (psychiatrists and other professionals), the top 50 companies account for about 15 percent of revenue.
Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals help patients manage a wide range of mental and behavioral conditions through individual and group therapy sessions, behavior modification training, medical procedures, and prescription of pharmaceuticals. Mental health professionals also study social patterns and evaluate medical and pharmaceutical treatments through clinical trials, typically performed at mental health institutions, large hospitals, or universities. Revenue, which primarily comes from patient care services, also includes resale of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.