Notre Dame Professor cycles for schizophrenia

20 March 2014

With his laces tied, helmet secured, brakes checked and tyres pumped, The University of Notre Dame Australia's Associate Professor Dr Bill Goodin will set out for a gruelling 237 kilometre cycle between Canberra and Camden this Friday powered by his aim of raising funds and awareness for schizophrenia.

Dr Goodin is Associate Professor at Notre Dame's School of Nursing Sydney and active supporter of ROAM Communities; a charitable organisation which aims to assist people with mental illness recover social and emotional wellbeing within the community, avoiding hospitals, jails and homelessness. As a mental health nurse, the cause is one close to Dr Goodin's heart.

"Australians with schizophrenia have a life expectancy 25 years lower than the general population and four out of every five people affected are unemployed. Australians with schizophrenia have more than three times the chance of becoming homeless," Dr Goodin says.

"These statistics are high but with the right treatment and support, people with schizophrenia can recover and return to being integral, active members of the community."

"I don't believe the levels of awareness are high enough in Australia; people just aren't aware of the impact of the experience of schizophrenia can have. It causes psycho-social disruption in the lives of patients – it affects living, working, loving and learning."

Up until four years ago Dr Goodin could be found regularly competing in cycling club races.

"I have enjoyed being back on the bike, it comes very naturally and is always good fun – even with the recent rain in Sydney making training an interesting experience," Dr Goodin says.

Dr Goodin will be joined on the ride by nine other staff and supporters of ROAM Communities. They will depart Canberra on Friday 21 March and are scheduled to arrive in Camden, New South Wales on Sunday 23 March where a Schizophrenia Awareness Dinner will be held.

"Mental health, and the role of nurses in improving the lives of people with mental health problems, is becoming increasingly important," Dean of the School of Nursing Sydney, Associate Professor Tracey Moroney says.

"We will be cheering for Bill and his fellow riders as they complete this monumental task and raise awareness of an illness that affects far too many Australians."

As part of the Bachelor of Nursing at Notre Dame, students complete units in mental health nursing and are given the opportunity to select an elective in the area as well.

Hannah Guilfoyle: Tel (02) 8204 4141;