I am deeply sorry to hear that. I will be praying for your brother’s friend.
In Buddhism, killing, even suicide, is breaking the first precept and the biggest no-no. If one kills, it’s an automatic sentence to hell regardless of who they are. However, depending on their merit and good deeds (karma), that will determine the duration of their stay. It could be for just a moment, a day, a month, a year, or a whole lifetime.
One of my favorite stories from the Jataka Takes (stories of Buddha’s past lives) is when he was a Bodhisattva on a ship with 500 people. Because he was a Bodhisattva, he had the power of clairvoyance and saw that there was a man planing on killing everyone on board. He had two choices: to do nothing or to kill the one man and go to hell. He ended up killing the one man in order to save 500 and as a consequence went to hell… but only for a moment! Because he was a Bodhisattva with great merit, it outweighed the evil deed.
In Buddhism, killing is bad, but killing oneself if really bad, because you not only hurt yourself, but you hurt everyone around you; your family, friends, co-workers, the girl at the coffee shop that knew your order, the homeless man on your corner that you always gave change to and joked around with… so many people! And you also waste a life that could be doing so much good and helping so many people.
Of course, everyone has their problems and issues. People who commit suicide have some deep, dark issues they thought no one would understand or could help. That’s understandable. But there’s always help. Someone might not always be able to help you, but you can ALWAYS help yourself, no matter how small or subtle the change.
All you and your brother can do is pray for him. If you can, chant the Amitabha Sutra. Or chant Amitabha’s name as many times as you can while the friend as your main focus. Whether he goes to Amitabha’s Pure Land or not, you still want him to hear the prayers and avoid any unfortunate rebirths.
Smile and be well!
I’ve never once read a mention of Hell in any Buddhist literature. Where are you getting this from?
About suicide, if help is always available and “one can always help themselves” as you’ve stated - then there wouldn’t be ANY SUICIDE - which is far from the case.
The dark thoughts and feelings people have are unique and can’t be fully understood or experienced by anyone but themselves.
I believe Buddhist or any other type of meditation or prayer along with therapy & possibly medication can help but not always. You make it seem like suicide shouldn’t exist in light of all the “help” available when it is and always has been an epidemic in human culture.