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Local artist paints mural for Thumbswood Mother and Baby Unit

22 May 24

A local artist, Laura Stock, has painted a wall mural for Thumbswood Mother and Baby Unit's family room. 

A painting depicting a woodland scene with animals

Laura has previously worked for nearly 20 years as a Social Researcher with vulnerable families and with those who experience mental health difficulties. She is also passionate about actively including service users in her work.

Throughout the development of the mural, she wanted to ensure that it accurately reflected the inpatient service users’ experiences. Therefore, she held two workshops with the mothers and staff. These involved co-creating the theme and design ideas for the mural, as well as getting them to produce their own artwork to shape the design. 

The mural incorporates a woodland animal theme – this theme, alongside the main central animals in the focal points, were all based on the mothers' designs. Whilst the mural is vibrant and colourful, there are many hidden meanings included to reflect the women’s experiences of mental illness.

Firstly, the mural is enclosed and surrounded with vibrant flowers, to convey how the women in the unit are encircled with support, in a tranquil and protected space to promote their recovery.

Secondly, there are illustrations of animal mothers that are experiencing mental illness, who are in hospital or are being cared for by family or others, as well as illustrations representing their children being taken into care temporarily while they recover. Other mothers are shown to be in difficult mental states, hidden in darkness in trees and hollows, struggling to come out into the light.

Finally, there are also depictions of mothers and their babies apart from each other, both physically and emotionally, but trying to reach, reconnect and find their way back to each other.

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