Campus once site for state mental hospital


Delta College’s campus has connections to mental health history in San Joaquin County.

According to the December 2009 issue of the Delta Express, the Delta campus once was the Pacific and Yokuts avenues for the hospital.

Before the Delta campus was built, the campus location was a farming unit for the hospital in the 1850s.

During the Gold Rush there was an influx in the population in Stockton. In the late 1840s approximately 14,000 people populated the city. By 1860 there were nearly 380,000 residents according to the History and Development of Stockton State Hospital.

A large portion of that new population were immigrants.

Unable to adjust to everyday life during the Gold Rush many went “Gold-Mad” according to the History and Development of Stockton State Hospital.

Facilities were put into place to help mentally ill patients. On April 30, 1851 the Stockton State Hospital opened.

The Stockton State Hospital is one out of three major mental institutions built in the 1850s in California. The other two included the San Francisco Marine Hospital and the Sacramento State Hospital.

In 1852, legislature ordered all San Francisco patients to be transferred to the Stockton facility according to the History and Development of Stockton State Hospital which spiked up the mental population.

On May 17, 1853 the hospital was renamed Insane Asylum of the State of California. It was one of the first to accommodate only the mentally ill.

Back when the hospital closed most patients had nowhere to go, resulting in an increase in the homeless population.

Today there is still a large mentally ill population in Stockton, many of whom are homeless.

According to the 2015 San Joaquin County unsheltered homeless count report, nearly 40 percent of individuals surveyed reported dealing with a substance abuse, a mental health issue or both. The report also stated that some refused to answer the survey question so the percentage may be higher.

“We have several officers that are trained in mental health, so that those patients can get the best help they possibly can,” said officer Joe Silva with the Stockton Police Department, when asked how the department responds to those cases.

There’s a lot of mystery about the old hospital. Allegations of abuse come up in conversations about it. There are also rumors.

“All I know is they found a lot of bodies,” said Alis Wyrick, a student and Delta student store employee.

There aren’t many services solely dedicated to inpatient and outpatient programs for the mentally ill.

St. Joseph’s has a Behavioral Health Center that provides an endless list of services for adults and adolescents including developing trust, enhancing self confidence and learning to deal with problems.