I think just about everyone who reads this little blog of ours knows that I recently graduated from library school. I'm particularly interested in is the topic of bibliotherapy and resiliency. The big idea is that if you expose children and young adults, in particular, to fiction in which characters deal with issues they may face in real life, it can give them a point of reference to fall back on when they may later encounter these issues.
For example, a teenage girl who cuts (or has a friend who does) may read Willow, a book in which the main character uses cutting to help her deal with other issues in her life, although through the course of the book she tries to find ways to overcome this challenge. This book is clearly a work of fiction, but the reader may relate to and learn from the experiences of the characters.
I remember in junior high reading a bunch of books about anorexia around the time a friend of mine was diagnosed with it.
The School Library Journal just came out with an article that talks about how reading fiction can help combat obesity. It's an interesting read.