My name is Emilio, I'm a psychiatrist and a clinical research physician. I'm also gay and European, which means I drape my jumpers over my shoulders, much to my husband's embarrassment. Having said that, I've managed to blend in so well in this country that I often forget I'm actually Spanish.
I came to the UK in 1996 to work on a new medication for HIV at the time when highly effective treatments were just emerging. Very quickly I discovered the London gay scene and realised for the first time that being gay could be cool and nothing to be ashamed of. I've spent part of my career treating patients with addictions and mental health conditions. The rest of the time I've been developing new treatments for HIV, addictions, and mental health disorders.
Volunteering for Controlling Chemsex is very rewarding: I get to review the medical information we provide to clients and make sure it's backed up by scientific evidence. I assess people when my colleagues sense that their clients may have a mental health condition as well as an addiction to chemsex. Supporting clients face-to-face means a lot to me. I see it as a privilege to be able to help people get back on track, and to get more out of their lives without chemsex getting in the way. At the same time, it's a lesson in humility, because it's never straightforward, and as soon as you as you start to think you know all there is to know about chemsex, you realise there's always something new you can learn from the very person you're trying to help.
We are fortunate to have an experienced and committed team of counsellors at Controlling Chemsex. We have weekly meetings to discuss our cases, exchange advice, and make sure we look after each other's mental wellbeing.