My friend Mike Solomon, who has died aged 52 of cancer, was a clinical psychologist at the Tavistock clinic in London, working with children and young people with social, emotional and mental health problems.
He thrived on building relationships and was often to be found having a clinical “session” with young people on a football pitch or at a bus stop.
Born in Pinner, north-west London, to Janet (nee Matlin), an accounts manager, and her husband, Alan Solomon, a chartered surveyor, Mike went to Haberdashers’ Aske’s boys’ school in nearby Elstree.
After graduating with a social and political sciences degree from Robinson College, Cambridge, in 1989, he completed a master’s at the London School of Economics before working at the King’s Fund in health policy analysis from 1991 to 1993.
It was during this time that he began to recognise the many gaps in services for young people and their families, which prompted him to do a doctorate in clinical psychology, completed at University College London in 1997.
Mike subsequently worked for a number of health trusts, providing care and expertise initially in the field of learning disabilities. He joined the Tavistock clinic in 2004, where he worked in the child and adolescent mental health service, supporting some of Camden’s most marginalised young people. In addition he published research papers, trained and mentored colleagues and undertook various leadership roles at the Tavistock.
After receiving a diagnosis of advanced lung cancer in early 2016, Mike was determined to continue with every aspect of his life. He returned to the Tavistock part-time in a new non-clinical role, which he embraced with determination and commitment.
Just weeks before he died, he recorded a TEDx talk with his friend and colleague Fiona Starr, entitled Shit Happens, What Next? Eight Lessons in Resilience.
In the 16-minute recording he used a Weeble – the 1970s toy with a weighted hemispheric base – to illustrate his message that when times are tough we wobble but do not fall down, providing an insight into ways of responding to adversity. Facing his own adversity, Mike continued to swim, socialise, play the drums and to lament the fortunes of his beloved Spurs.
He is survived by his wife, Hilary (nee Levy), whom he met in London in 1991 and married in 1993, their children, Rosie and Zack, his parents and his brothers, Neil and Paul.