Category: Asian Network
BBC Asian Network's daily drama, Silver Street, has triumphed in the 'Soaps and Series' category at the Mental Health Awards 2005.
Silver Street has been recognised for successfully challenging the misinformation and stereotypes that surround mental illness.
It was the only radio programme up against three TV programmes: Heartbeat (Granada TV), Doctors (BBC ONE), and Help TV (BBC TWO).
The Awards, in their 12th year, were hosted by Jeremy Paxman at Bafta on Wednesday 11 October.
The panel of judges included screenwriter Paul Abbott (Channel 4's Shameless) and Lord Victor Adebowale CBE, Chief Executive of social care charity, Turning Point.
Silver Street's storyline focused on the potential over-diagnosis of an Asian patient, Amrit Singh. The diagnosis was based on translations carried out 20 years ago by his son, Kuljit Singh, a London club promoter.
Twenty-eight year old Kuljit Singh finds his father in a psychiatric hospital, and questions his father's initial diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
Kuljit believes that due to a misunderstanding of his father's culture and beliefs, and the lack of interpreting services 20 years ago, his father has been over-diagnosed and treated for schizophrenia.
James Peries, Editor of Silver Street, said: "This is a real boost for everyone on Silver Street. To be chosen over such well-established, quality soaps and series is a major coup for us in our first year and we are delighted to have been recognised.
"Soaps such as Silver Street help to create awareness and discussion about important health issues."
The aim of this particular storyline was to tackle and explore a number of issues which included the pressure on some young ethnic minority children to translate for their parents; and the stigma, fear, and superstition surrounding mental illness not only in all communities, but here specifically in an Asian (Sikh Punjabi) community.
The storyline also aimed to highlight the importance of cultural awareness, and the dangers presented by language barriers in interpreting behaviour and making diagnoses based on that knowledge; and lastly there was the issue of rewards and burdens of the carer.
Silver Street's first two episodes on this storyline were dedicated to Kuljit overcoming his fears, and at last confiding the truth of his dad's condition to a close friend. This was followed by a very successful one hour phone-in, after the episode, on the Sonia Deol show.
The soap dedicated a focused week of episodes to Kuljit's search for evidence from his childhood, to support his case for a reassessment of his father's condition.
This week used flashbacks, in which we saw the eight-year-old Kuljit at key moments of his father's diagnosis.
We also saw the past and present of the extended family's reaction to finding that a member of the family has a mental illness.
The story is currently in an upbeat phase, with Kuljit bringing his father out of hospital for home visits.
Notes to Editors
Silver Street can be heard on the Asian Network at 9.20am and 7.20pm every weekday, or in an omnibus every Sunday from 4.00 to 5.00pm.
The Asian Network is available on DAB digital radio and digital television, online at bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork and on MW frequencies in the Midlands.