Am far from expert on this, but wondered if this is a situation where a prisoner who is depressed and suicidal is newly turning to meditation to try to help relieve those feelings, or someone experienced with meditation becoming depressed and suicidal. To me those two situations are a bit different and so are the considerations in terms of supports that can be provided/things to watch for. Also wondered where on the continuum of suicidality this is -- someone having thoughts/feelings about suicide vs. someone who is actively suicidal. Can't offer any experience specific to prisoners but can offer a bit of experience from doing crisis work more generally (although not as a mental health professional so this shouldn't be considered expert advice, just sharing of experience).
I hung myself. Obviously I did not accomplish my goal. What I thought would be the end of pain and suffering only succeeded in bringing more of the same--not only for myself, but also for the woman who found me hanging unconscious in our bathroom. Five feet tall and 115 pounds, she managed to lift me high enough to make slack in the rope while she cut me down with a knife I carried in my boot. She saved my life. She wanted me to live even when I didn't care. That was thirteen years ago and from that night until the present there have been many times that I have wished she would have just left me alone.
Why I am telling you this is because it is something that no one wants to talk about. Over the years, upon hearing about my suicide attempt, people often viewed me as if I were insane. Not once has one of my peers acknowledged that they understood my pain, even though the fourth leading cause of death among men between the ages of 15 and 45 is suicide. Most people have no sympathy for one who has taken his own life. He is considered weak, yet men are four times more likely to kill themselves than are women. Nobody wants to hear it. Nobody wants to talk about it. So if no one feels this overwhelming despair and if nobody is struggling with the suffering that samsara carries--is everyone's life is just peachy keen and they never feel the urge to simply give up--then why are so many people dying this way?
What does all of this have to do with Buddhism? I don't know. Maybe nothing at all. Maybe everything...(continued here )