Open main menu

Metropolitan State Hospital (California)

Metropolitan State Hospital is an American public hospital for the mentally ill, located in the city of Norwalk in Los Angeles County, California. Metropolitan State Hospital provides mental health care and treatment to mentally issued patients. Patients in need of help and secure environment are welcomed. Metropolitan State Hospital is determined to help their issued patients. As of August 2016 it had 780 patients.[1]

Metropolitan State Hospital
California Department of Mental Health
Metropolitan State Hospital, Psychiatric, Norwalk California.jpg
LocationNorwalk, California, United States
FundingGovernment hospital
WebsiteMetropolitan State Hospital
ListsHospitals in California


The hospital offers inpatient mental health care for the surrounding counties, specializing in legal commitments, programs for Spanish speaking patients, Intensive Treatment and includes a Clinical Research Unit. The hospital is unique among State facilities serving the mentally disordered in that it admits a large proportion of acutely ill psychiatric patients resulting in a rapid turnover rate and a shorter length of stay.

The Intensive Treatment and Research Unit, which is a male inpatient facility for the chronically persons with mental disabilities, is co-sponsored by Metropolitan State Hospital and the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. The program is a major component of research being conducted by the two institutions with the treatment focus directed toward the chronically refractory and treatment-resistant patient.

Specific patient programming utilizes individual and group therapy, occupational and recreational therapy and the management of social and financial problems by developing linkages back to the community. Basic treatment services include medical, nursing, rehabilitation, pharmacy, dietary, psychology and social services.


Hiram Johnson was governor of California and appropriated the funds necessary to build the hospital.

The hospital’s history began in 1915 when Hiram Johnson, California's governor, signed legislation that authorized the expenditure of about $400,000 for the purchase of land on which to build a state hospital, designed to provide care and treatment to California’s increasing population of persons with psychiatric disabilities. Three potential sites for the new facility were considered: Beverly Hills, Signal Hill, and Norwalk. The decision to place the hospital in Norwalk was prompted primarily because of its location, with easy access to good roads and railroad service. Metropolitan’s early site encompassed over 300 acres (120 ha).[2]

The hospital was self-sufficient in its early days. A dairy, garden, pigs, and cows produced income and food products that could be used by the staff and patients. The farm also kept food costs at a minimum, at a time when milk prices alone had increased from 17 cents per gallon in 1916 to 32 cents in 1918.

As the area around the hospital became developed after World War II and the city of Norwalk grew around it, many changes have taken place. The biggest change in patient care has come from development of psychotropic medications, increased therapies and new community standards. The hospital has since consolidated its grounds and facilities of tudor styled dormitories into its present 162 acres (66 ha).[3]

In 1975, the hospital was the subject of a black-and-white documentary from film makers Richard Cohen and Kevin Rafferty titled Hurry Tomorrow,[4] which alleged coercive drugging of patients with the sedatives Chlorpromazine and Prolixin.[5] In December, 1976 The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite ran a story about patient deaths at Metropolitan and Camarillo State Hospitals, and the story featured scenes from Hurry Tomorrow.


Metropolitan State Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission (formerly the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) and certified by the Healthcare Finance Administration. Accreditation is a voluntary process. Medical and psychiatric facilities across the country must request to be surveyed with results evaluated against nationally recognized standards of care.


  1. ^ R. Alexander Acosta (2004-02-19). "re:Metropolitan State Hospital, Norwalk, California" (PDF). United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-05-30. Retrieved 2010-08-03. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ Metropolitan State Hospital Homepage Archived 2007-12-22 at the Wayback Machine: (retrieved 23 December 2009)
  3. ^ Duke Helfand (1993-05-13). "A New Plan for Metropolitan". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-04. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ Alan Rosenthal (1980). The Documentary Conscience: A Casebook in Film Making. University of California Press. p. 330. ISBN 978-0-520-04022-9.
  5. ^ Linda Gross (1975-12-05), Forced Drugging In The Wards, Los Angeles Times Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)

External linksEdit