Counseling Psychology 300: 

Psychology of Suicide

with Joe Orovecz

Suicide has had a profound effect on the lives of millions of Americans and millions more around the world; however, we rarely talk about it because of the associated stigma. This course is designed to break down that stigma and allow students to develop an understanding of this serious topic. Students will gain familiarity with research that challenges common myths as well as some potential misconceptions held among health professionals.  

Topics we’ll discuss include:

  • Suicidality assessment
  • Contributing factors
  • Theory and research
  • Intervention and prevention strategies

Furthermore, we will seek to develop a real understanding of the experience of those who are suicidal, and cover topics including:

  • The experiences of those who have lost a loved one to suicide
  • The experiences of populations disproportionately affected by suicide
  • Bereavement
  • Ethical and legal issues

Students will collaborate in a service learning project related to suicide education and/or prevention. Through lectures, discussions, and assignments, students will gain a greater understanding for the psychology of suicide, resources available to those considering suicide (e.g., the NSPL), and the importance of supporting those impacted by this topic.

Ultimately, what are the learning objectives?
  1. Develop an understanding of suicide and suicidology that is informed by research and the realities of people who are suicidal.
  2. Learn about effective techniques professionals use for assessing and addressing suicide risk, and how peers or family members can assist someone with suicidal thoughts in getting connected with resources.
  3. Reduce the stigma associated with suicide and develop the knowledge and skills needed to educate others about topics related to suicide.

What students are saying about CP 300:

“When I first signed up for this course,

I wasn’t sure if it was something I’d be comfortable learning about. I’m definitely glad that I joined, though; I’ve gained knowledge about such a wide variety of topics and am much better equipped to work with a multicultural group of people.”

“Because of the small size of the course,

we were able to have very open conversations where the instructor, as well as students, were able to share personal experiences on very sensitive topics. This made us all feel comfortable talking about some heavier subjects. … It was the best class I’ve taken in my undergrad here at Madison!”

“The instructor was incredibly effective

and was probably my favorite professor I’ve ever had. He was so warm, friendly, passionate about the subject, and incredibly knowledgeable.”

— Students from AY 2016

CP 300: Psychology of Suicide Time



CP 300: Psychology of Suicide Dates
July 3 –
August 13
CP 300: Psychology of Suicide Credits
Credit Course
CP 300: Psychology of Suicide Contact


Meet Your Professor

Joe Orovecz

Counseling Psychology

Joe Orovecz, M.Ed. has 5 years of experience responding to crisis and suicide hotlines and has trained hotline volunteers, police officers, and peer counselors in crisis and suicide intervention. He has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group and has designed and conducted a research study focused on suicidality among people in the LGBTQ community. Joe co-facilitated discussion groups for a psychology of suicide course at the University of Florida and is excited to be bringing a similar course here to UW-Madison. —UW-Madison Bio

Look for COUN PSY 300 in your

course guide or student center.