Be Part of the Change podcast episode 3 – mental health in the built environment

Posted on: 16 May, 2024

The built environment comprises a diverse and exciting range of sectors, but there is still a lack of representation at every level. We want this to change.

‘Be Part of the Change’ is an awareness campaign with the purpose of celebrating the incredible success stories of our under-represented students, apprentices and alumni, as well as highlighting their challenges.

It’s also an opportunity to highlight the positive practices our employers are actioning within their organisations to inspire other companies in their approach.

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In the third episode of our Be Part of the Change podcast, Ummi Mahinoor is joined by Melissa Gough-Rundle, Strategic Relationship Manager with LionHeart.

The topics discussed on this episode include:

  • What LionHeart is and who the service is for
  • The mental health services LionHeart provides students
  • Advice for someone struggling with their mental health in the workplace
  • Advice for students studying for their APC
  • Three tips for managing your work-life balance

Full transcript

Aysha: Hello and welcome to the be part of the Change podcast. This is UCEM’s new series that will explore the challenges and success stories faced by those from underrepresented backgrounds in the built environment. This episode contains discussions around mental health. If you are a UCEM student and feel you require further support, please contact our disability and welfare team via Student Central or call the student advice telephone number 0118-921-4696.

Ummi: Hi and welcome back to be part of the change. I’m Ummi, one of UCEM’s student ambassadors for equality, diversity and inclusion. I’m delighted to say we have Melissa Gough-Rundle joining me today on the podcast. Melissa is a strategic relationships manager at LionHeart. Hi Melissa, thank you so much for joining us. Please can you give us an introduction to LionHeart? Maybe an overview of who you are and what the service is for?

Melissa: Hi Ummi, I just wanted to say thank you for inviting me along today. It’s always a pleasure to talk about what LionHeart does. My role with LionHeart as a strategic relationships manager is all about making friends with institutions, firms, organizations that are around the built environment and that employ RICS members so that we can get to talk about all of the wonderful work that we do. And at LionHeart we’re here to support our ACS members and their families throughout their careers. So whether you just starting your journey as a student and an APC candidate right through to your qualification beyond retirement, and even when RICS members pass away, we’re still there for family members as well. So we do have that all encompassing support. We are the charity that is there for RICS members.

Ummi: Thank you. The next question is what services can you provide for mental health students?

Melissa: So students is something that we’ve branched out into fairly recently as a charity. We changed our charitable articles so that we can include final year students or support to those final year students that are on an accredited RICS course. We recognise that they needed that support sooner perhaps, and when they first started their journey into a career in surveying. And we can support them in a number of different ways, but particularly around being there to support them. We recognise that the final year of a degree can be quite stressful and especially in the case of UCEM where perhaps they’re working at the same time as studying. It’s really important that they know that they can contact line heart, they can give us a call, they can talk to our support team and discuss whether that’s stress with work related stress or whether it’s stress around studying family life. We’re there for all aspects, not just for around what’s going on in your education, it’s also around your life and perhaps employment, too. So predominantly, we’re there to support you through any mental health issues that you might be challenged with at that particular time in your career.

Ummi: It’s really nice to know that you’ve got someone there to, like support, whether because some people be comfortable, speak to someone at work. So it’s quite nice to know that there’s someone there that you can call and maybe, like, de stress and kind of get a relief. The next question is, what advice would you give to someone going through mental health within the workplace?

Melissa: That’s a really good question. Um, and I think it’s quite wide as well. But certainly from a LionHeart perspective, we would always suggest that you reach out to GP first and really discuss with them what it is, how you’re feeling, because there are so many different challenges to our mental health these days that it could be any number of reasons why you’re feeling the way you are. But so certainly first up would always be your GP. Then we’d always suggest, certainly if you’re studying, that you speak to a tutor or you speak to someone in your college that would understand and that maybe can signpost you to any support or services that they would have access to. And then, of course, you can talk to LionHeart as well, if you’re able to speak to LionHeart. We are very independent. We’re independent from the RICS. Every time you speak to us, it is in confidence, so you can have that reassurance that if you do speak to us, that it’s not going to go any further and just be very open with us about what’s going on in life, and then hopefully we can help you unpick that and decide what’s best for you and what help that you might need and where we can point you in the right direction.

Ummi: So I’m due to start my APC in the next few months. What advice would you give to someone like me and what mental health resources are available for us?

Melissa: Well, good luck. That’s all I can say is that it is a tough process and at LionHeart we really recognize that. So I wish you the very best of luck on that journey. Talking generally to all individuals that are about to embark on their APC journey and might even be part of it or be getting ready to sit, is take care of yourself, basically, is make sure that if you are finding that you’re getting very stressed about the preparation that you’re doing for your APC or actually sitting it, do reach out to LionHeart, because we do. All of the team are aware of what it’s like to be going through the APC process. They’re all equipped to support those individuals that are going through the process. And whilst we’re always very clear about the fact that we’re not there to help you with the technical, that’s what RICS are there for. We’re there to help you with the rest of it. So if you are very nervous, if you’re getting anxious, if you really don’t think that you can get yourself through it, then we’re there to help you with that part. And it’s making sure that you’re in the best possible state, mentally and physically to get through that state. And we’re there beyond as well. So even when you’ve taken it and you’re successful and you’re starting your career, we’re there to support you through that. But also if perhaps you don’t get the result that you were looking for, we’re there to help you through that referral process as well.

Ummi: Thank you. Now we’re on to our last question. What are your top three tips for managing work life and one’s wellbeing?

Melissa: Well, again, big topic, work life balance. And it’s something that we all need to look at quite carefully because I think, post pandemic, I think people have actually gone back the other way now and we’re all very busy. We’ve got lots going on in our lives. And certainly with doing everything over teams, we’re a lot more accessible. You know, we physically have to move from meeting to meeting, get to work. We always sometimes have that pause between meetings or work that time to decompress, maybe going between the office and home. And it’s always good to recognize that work sometimes is a routine, be part of our social life. You know, it is. It can be quite a positive place, but sometimes it can tip over. Balance isn’t quite so good. You know, you might be struggling because you’ve got an excessive workload, there’s stuff going on at home. It may just be that you’re really not coping necessarily in that work environment. So it’s always important to think about how it is that you’re looking after yourself in that situation. And I think at LionHeart we’d always say, actually, are you looking after yourself? Are you putting yourself first? Are you thinking about the sleep, your exercise and your healthy eating? You know, it’s as basic as that as are you really looking after yourself? But also are you talking to other people? Are you talking to maybe family members or a good friend? Are you talking to work? If the pressures are around work, you really feel that that balance is out of cure to then do talk to those that report to your managers colleagues and see how they can help. And I think it’s actually taking that approach to it and really taking that step, step back, having a little think about what it is that might be causing that imbalance. And of course, at the end of the day, if you’re in that situation and you are an RICS member or an associate member or a student member, please do get in touch with LionHeart because we’ve got any number of ways that we can help you through that situation. Just get you back on your feet and get you to the next step.

Ummi: Thank you, Melissa, for joining us today and giving us your time and explaining and kind of give us giving us insight on what LionHeart is. We look forward to seeing you again soon on a future episode. Thank you very much.

Melissa: Ummi thank you. It’s been a pleasure.

Aysha: Thank you for listening to the be part of the Change podcast to find out more and get involved with the campaign. Google UCEM be part of the change. If you’d like to get in touch with our student ambassadors for EDI, email

To find out more about LionHeart, visit their site join one of their upcoming webinars and workshops.