Renowned British crisis psychologist answers menta...

Renowned British crisis psychologist answers mental health questions from MTSU community

Talwar to discuss issues affecting college campuses following Nashville shooting

A British crisis and social psychologist who assisted families following the devastating recent school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, will speak to MTSU faculty, staff and students and the wider community at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 6, in the Keathley University Center Theater to answer their questions about mental health following the incident.

Dr. Shamender Talwar, social and crisis psychologist, co-founder of TUFF
Dr. Shamender Talwar

Shamender Talwar, Ph.D., is co-founder of the international organization The Unity of Faiths Foundation, also known as TUFF. He will be joined at MTSU by Pamela L. Lewis, president of PLA Media; Mark Logsdon, a graduate of MTSU and vice president of PLA Media; Daniel Xander, a trustee and creative director of TUFF; and Anna Prior, co-founder of TUFF. 

The event, which is free and open to the public, comes in the wake of the March 27 mass shooting at Covenant School, a K-6 private school in Nashville, during which the assailant shot and killed three schoolchildren and three adults before being killed by responding police officers.

Beverly Keel, dean, College of Media and Entertainment
Beverly Keel

“The moment I heard that Dr. Talwar was in Middle Tennessee, I asked Pam and Mark if he would be available to speak to the MTSU community,” said Beverly Keel, dean of MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment. “So many of us have a great deal of fear and anxiety following the news of last week’s mass shooting, and I know that he would be able to tell us everything that we should know.”

An MTSU parking map is available at Off-campus visitors can get a one-day permit at or from MTSU’s Office of Parking and Transportation at 205 City View Drive. Free parking is available in the Rutherford Boulevard lot with shuttle service into the campus interior.

Talwar is from Liverpool, England, and now lives in London. He was named the British Indian of the Year and inducted into the Royal Society of Arts (joining Nelson Mandela, Stephen Hawking and others) for his groundbreaking work with TUFF, which has helped English youth resist Islamic radicalization and street gangs by encouraging them to play soccer together. He has been named a visionary by the Pope Francis, former President Barack Obama and the European Union Parliament. 

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It was this work that brought him to Nashville and led to a partnership with Lewis, one of the top public relations leaders in Nashville. Lewis introduced Keel to Talwar last year when the two were working on a songwriting contest called The Road to Nashville, a global music project that promoted mental health. After meeting with Talwar at Lewis’ office, Keel agreed to have MTSU join the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, the Metro Nashville City Council, BBC, BMI and other organizations to support this program. One of the program’s goals was to allow TUFF Earth to locate student musicians and songwriters in need of mental health and make them aware of the opportunity presented by the contest.

Recently, Talwar has been spending time in Middle Tennessee to promote other mental health initiatives. When news spread of the recent shooting, Lewis, a TUFF ambassador, immediately contacted him because she knew he would be invaluable as a resource on site. Accompanied by Lewis, he swiftly joined the team on site at the Covenant School to assist with counseling and support for the families and staff after the shooting.

At the reunification center, Talwar joined police chaplains, Vice Mayor Jim Schulman, Metro Council Member At-Large Sharon Hurt, first responders, staff and families of the students at the school to ensure that they had a sense of humanity as they traverse through the loss and grief associated with this tragedy. 

“I was led there to offer my services and serve in counsel to these families to mentor, speak and offer a hand of support,” he said. “I could see the fear and anger in their eyes.”

Added Talwar: “Mental health is the new pandemic.” 

About TUFF

The Unity of Faiths Foundation, or TUFF, is a British secular charitable organization working in four continents. TUFF bridges community sectors, organizations and government by rebuilding social integration and global community cohesion. TUFF empowers youth through participation in sports, music and science, as well as teaching education in human values such individual liberty, gender equality and respect for other cultures. TUFF was established in 2011 and has the support and acknowledgments of many dignitaries including Pope Francis, the Queen of England, and former President Barack Obama to name a few. The ultimate goal is to share kindness and facilitate the integration and empowerment of those people who do not have a voice, due to numerous challenges and obstacles they face in their daily lives. Info: or find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.