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Psychologist Julie Cerel

Psychologist Julie Cerel

Renee Shaw and psychologist Julie Cerel, Ph.D., a professor in the University of Kentucky College of Social Work, discuss grief and mental health challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
S16 E31 Length 28:02 Premiere: 6.13.21

Strategies for Improving Mental Health After a Rough Pandemic Year

With COVID-19 case numbers declining, and most pandemic restrictions ending, a sense of normal life has returned for many Americans.

But many people are faced with adapting to a new normal that includes mourning the loss of a loved one who died from COVID, finding a new job to replace one that was lost, resurrecting a business that was shuttered by the lockdown, or simply returning to work, school or church after a lengthy quarantine.

These emotional and psychological impacts can touch people in a variety of ways. Whether it’s grief, depression, traumatic stress, or anxiety, mental health professionals say you are not alone. Psychologist Julie Cerel, who is a professor in the University of Kentucky College of Social Work, encourages people who are struggling to reach out for help.

“Oftentimes if you’re having a bad day, or you’re struggling with going back to the office, putting on real clothes, your colleagues are too,” she says. “I think that kind of honesty and support is much better than just brushing it under the rug and saying it’s business as usual.”

Grieving Those Lost to COVID

Nearly half a million people in the commonwealth have tested positive for COVID since the start of the pandemic, and more than 7,100 Kentuckians lost their lives from the virus. Because of safety protocols that closed hospitals to visitors, many of those patients died alone, which Cerel says created a special kind of trauma for family and loved ones.

“People didn’t get their normal rituals that we associate with dying: Being with their loved ones, getting to hear their final words,” she says.

Additional limits on public gatherings meant that the usual traditions around visitations and funerals could not occur. Virtual services did help, but Cerel says after they concluded, people were still left to grieve in isolation.

“People who are grieving need their community,” she says, “they need to know that other people care about them and are there to support them.”

But Cerel says grief isn’t just about the loss of someone important to us. It can also include mourning what would have been – a job, a business, regular social gatherings, and other aspects of pre-pandemic existence that COVID took away.

For some people, grief can inspire positive action, Cerel says, such as fulfilling a lifelong dream that honors the person who was lost. But for others, grief can change their lives for the worse.
“Prolonged grief is when someone gets stuck in their grief in a way that they cannot shake the sadness, the yearning for the person [they lost], and the fact that they feel like they just can’t go on with their own life,” she says. “It lasts usually six months or longer.”

Fortunately, Cerel says there are specific treatments that can help people suffering with prolonged grief. She also says the pandemic demonstrated that telemedicine is an effective way for people to receive counseling and therapy, especially for patients who live in remote areas that may lack easy access to mental health professionals.

The Pandemic and Suicides

At the outset of the pandemic, when the nation went into lockdown, some politicians and pundits who opposed the closures argued they would result in a surge of suicides among isolated individuals.

“I think the mental health piece was used for alarmists as reasons – kind of a political pawn in some cases – for why we needed to open the economy,” Cerel says. “Suicide became a touchpoint – if we don’t do something, we’re going to lose thousands and thousands of people.”

But Cerel says that didn’t happen. She says some racial and ethnic groups did experience slight increases in suicide rates, but she notes the overall population saw a decrease in suicides.

“For now, people have really drawn together, looked out for each other, and we haven’t seen excess suicides,” says Cerel.

But that doesn’t mean suicide isn’t a significant problem. Cerel says the commonwealth loses two times the number of Kentuckians to suicide as it does to homicide. National research indicates that about half of Americans know of someone who died by suicide.

She’s also concerned about the sharp increase in firearms purchases made during the pandemic. She says that means more people have a readily available means for taking their own lives.

A new suicide hotline is scheduled to go in service next summer, according to Cerel. She says people anywhere in the United States will be able to dial 988 for immediate crisis assistance. She also says suicides are being more openly reported in obituaries and the language around suicide is changing. Now the preferred wording is to say someone “died by suicide” instead “committed suicide,” which Cerel says harkens back to the days when some legal statutes classified suicide as a crime, and some faiths considered it a sin.

“For those people left behind, having that reminder that their loved one committed a crime or committed a sin can then just be more stigmatizing and more harmful,” she says.

Mental Health Challenges for Students

Children faced their own mental health issues during the pandemic, from having their normal routines upended, to being isolated at home when schools closed, to being unable to see older relatives and losing loved ones. While there was not an increase in suicides among youth, Cerel says there was a spike in crisis visits involving young people when regular outpatient clinics and well as school-based counseling services were shuttered.

“Many people have come to rely on schools as the mental health clinic for our kids,” she says.

Cerel credits the many teachers and school psychologists who responded to their students’ mental health needs by connecting them virtually or by telephone to provide much-needed supports. While some pediatricians and government experts recommended schools reopen as soon as possible, Cerel says that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t consider those children whose academic performance actually improved during at-home instruction. That group includes students who were bullied at school, had difficulty focusing in certain environments, or may have experienced classroom anxiety.

“I think there really needs to be a much more nuanced look at what is it that kids need as they’re coming back, and more planning that looks at all those different levels of needs,” says Cerel.

Program Details

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Frank X Walker, named Kentucky's 2013-14 poet laureate, talks about his latest collection, Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers, and other works and projects.

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50th Anniversary of the March on Frankfort - S9 E22

Renee discusses the 50th anniversary commemoration of the 1964 March on Frankfort with historians and participants including: NAACP Louisville leader Raoul Cunningham and former state Senator Georgia Davis Powers.

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Aaron Thompson - S9 E26

Aaron Thompson, executive vice president and chief academic officer of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, discusses the state budget for higher education and the impact on student tuition.

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Early Childhood Development Initiatives in Louisville

Renee Shaw speaks with Kevin Fields, president and CEO of the Louisville Central Community Centers, Inc., and pediatrician Dr. Beverly M. Gaines, president and CEO of Beverly M. Gaines M.D. and Associates, about a collaboration to enhance early childhood learning experiences.

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Filmmaker Elizabeth Helm-Frazier

Renee Shaw talks with film producer and veteran Elizabeth Helm-Frazier about the only all-Black Women's Army Corps (WACs) battalion to serve overseas during World War II. The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was sent to Europe to clear a backlog of millions of pieces of mail, ensuring American troops received letters from home. A new documentary called "The Six Triple Eight" honors their legacy and service.

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Dr. Janet Taylor - S9 E29

Renee speaks with Dr. Janet Taylor, psychiatrist, certified life coach, and national commentator on work-life balance and mental health issues.

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Djuan Trent - S9 E30

Former Miss Kentucky Djuan Trent talks about her decision come out as a gay woman, reaction from family and friends, her activism in advancing gay rights and marriage, and more.

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Hasan Davis - S9 E31

Renee speaks with former Kentucky Commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice, Hasan Davis, about recent juvenile justice reform. Davis was featured in the recent PBS Frontline program "Prison State," about Kentucky's correction system, and interviewed for KET's follow-up program, Prison State: A Kentucky Community Conversation.

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Prison Reform In Kentucky - S9 E32

Renee continues the discussion about Kentucky prison reform recently highlighted on the PBS Frontline program "Prison State." Her guests are: Mark Bolton, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections; Sheila Schuster, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and mental health advocate; and Ray Larson, Fayette County Commonwealth's Attorney.

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Connections

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Ted Strader - COPES - S9 E33

Ted Strader, the director of the Council on Prevention and Education: Substances, Inc. (COPES) in Louisville, discusses how partnering agencies with the corrections system can help former inmates with successful re-entry into society.

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Colene Elridge - S9 E34

Renee speaks with human resources professional and life coach Colene Elridge, better known as Coach Colene, owner of Be More Consulting.

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Rape Culture - S9 E35

Renee's guests are Mae Suramek, executive director of the Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center and Rus Funk, executive director of MensWork- Eliminating Violence Against Women.

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Betsy Johnson, Saundra Ardrey

Host Renee Shaw speaks with Kentucky lawyer, Betsy Johnson, who once argued a case before the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Then, Renee speaks with Western Kentucky University Political Science professor Saundra Ardrey about the legacy of Justice Ginsburg, the centennial anniversary of women's suffrage, and racial unrest in light of recent police-involved killings of African Americans.

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Mental Health Courts - S9 E36

Kelly Gunning, director of advocacy and public policy, NAMI Lexington (National Alliance on Mental Illness), and Public Defender Jon Landon, discuss mental health laws in Kentucky.

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Dr. Timothy M. Houchin - S9 E37

Renee speaks with Lexington psychiatrist Dr. Timothy M. Houchin about attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Houchin is a board-certified adult, child/adolescent, and forensic psychiatrist, and the founder and president of 360 Mental Health Services in Lexington.

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Connections

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Charisse Gillett - Lexington Theological Seminary - S9 E38

Renee speaks with Dr. Charisse Gillett, president of the Lexington Theological Seminary. Dr. Gillett is the first woman and first African-American selected to lead the seminary.

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African Americans and Mental Health - S9 E39

Renee speaks with Sycarah Fisher, associate professor in the College of Education at the University of Kentucky, and Shambra Mulder, an assistant professor in the School of Education at Kentucky State University.

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Wil James - S9 E40

Renee talks with Wil James, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky.

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Dr. Robert Hilgers - S9 E41

Renee speaks with Dr. Robert Hilgers, founder and president of the Global Women's Cancer Alliance (WGCA). The WGCA works to advance women's health, addressing particularly those in need of cancer care in developing countries.

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Judi Jennings - S9 E42

Renee's guest is Judi Jennings, former executive director of the Kentucky Foundation for Women, feminist art advocate, and writer.

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Marta Miranda - S9 E43

Renee speaks with Marta Miranda, chief empowerment officer of the Center for Women and Families in Louisville.

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SWAG - Sisters and Supporters Working Against Gun Violence - S9 E44

Lexington moms LaTosha Reynolds and Tonya Lindsey talk about losing their sons to gun violence and how the group they founded, SWAG - Sisters and Supporters Working Against Gun Violence, is working to keep youth safe.

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Frontier Nursing University - S9 E45

Drs. Susan Stone and Julie Marfell of Frontier Nursing University discuss the institution's 75-year legacy as the longest continually-operating and largest midwifery program in the nation.

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Tanya Torp and Holly Houston - S9 E46

Community Activist Tanya Torp, program director for Step by Step, a mentoring ministry for at risk single mothers, and Holly Houston, a family court lawyer and co-founder of GLOW - Greater Louisville Outstanding Women, discuss social justice, youth empowerment, leadership development, and girl power.

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Chris Rabb - S10 E1

Chris Rabb, author of Invisible Capital: How Unseen Forces Shape Entrepreneurial Opportunity, explores how behind-the-scenes factors - human, cultural, and social capital - affect whether a business will be successful.

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Middle Class Struggles and Poverty - S9 E13

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Human Trafficking - S9 E11

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Diabetes Prevention and Control - S9 E10

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Innocence Project - S9 E9

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Pop Culture and Commodification of Women - S9 E8

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Ruth Brinkley - KentuckyOne Health - S9 E5

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Malcolm Ratchford - S9 E4

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Roszalyn Akins - S9 E3

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  • Monday July 19, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack

  • Saturday July 24, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday July 24, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday July 18, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday July 18, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday July 18, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday July 18, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 14, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday July 14, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday July 14, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday July 14, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday July 11, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday July 11, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday July 11, 2021 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday July 11, 2021 11:00 am CT on KET

Betty Baye - S9 E1

  • Friday July 16, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday July 16, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday July 16, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday July 16, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Marcie Timmerman - Mental Health and Wellness - S13 E43

  • Thursday July 15, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday July 15, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday July 15, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday July 15, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Tiffany Manuel - Affordable Housing - S13 E42

  • Wednesday July 14, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 14, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 14, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 14, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 14, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 14, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Shining a Spotlight on Epilepsy - S13 E35

  • Tuesday July 13, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 13, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 13, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 13, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 13, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 13, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Criminal Justice Reform - Cherise Fanno Burdeen - S13 E34

  • Monday July 12, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday July 12, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday July 12, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday July 12, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday July 12, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday July 12, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Sarah Taylor Vanover - Early Childhood Education

  • Saturday July 17, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday July 17, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday July 11, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday July 11, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday July 11, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday July 11, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 7, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday July 7, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday July 7, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday July 7, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday July 4, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday July 4, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday July 4, 2021 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday July 4, 2021 11:00 am CT on KET

Dr. Donna Grigsby - S13 E28

  • Friday July 9, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday July 9, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday July 9, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday July 9, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday July 9, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday July 9, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Kosair Charities Face It Movement; Terry Brooks - S13 E25

  • Thursday July 8, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday July 8, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday July 8, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday July 8, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Child Marriage Laws in Kentucky - Donna Pollard - S13 E24

  • Wednesday July 7, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 7, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 7, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 7, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - S13 E23

  • Tuesday July 6, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 6, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 6, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 6, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Educational Innovation - S13 E21

  • Monday July 5, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday July 5, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday July 5, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday July 5, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday July 5, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday July 5, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Boone Co. Judge Executive Gary Moore

  • Saturday July 10, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday July 10, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday July 4, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday July 4, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday July 4, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday July 4, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY

The Demands and Rewards of Fatherhood

  • Saturday July 3, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday July 3, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
Top

Season 16 Episodes

Filmmaker Elizabeth Helm-Frazier

S16 E37 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 8.1.21

Early Childhood Development Initiatives in Louisville

S16 E36 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 7.25.21

Kathy Werking and Jim Embry

S16 E35 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 7.17.21

Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack

S16 E34 Length 27:41 Premiere Date 7.11.21

Boone Co. Judge Executive Gary Moore

S16 E33 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 6.26.21

The Demands and Rewards of Fatherhood

S16 E32 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 6.20.21

Psychologist Julie Cerel

S16 E31 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 6.13.21

Restaurateur and Chef Ouita Michel

S16 E30 Length 27:56 Premiere Date 6.6.21

Sarah Taylor Vanover - Early Childhood Education

S16 E29 Length 27:32 Premiere Date 5.16.21

A Conversation with U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell

S16 E28 Length 28:21 Premiere Date 5.9.21

Cynthia Knapek of Louisville Leadership Center

S16 E27 Length 27:35 Premiere Date 5.1.21

Vaccine Equity and Hesitancy

S16 E26 Length 28:22 Premiere Date 4.24.21

State Treasurer Allison Ball and Sharon Price

S16 E25 Length 28:31 Premiere Date 4.18.21

Chef and Activist Dan Wu

S16 E24 Length 27:52 Premiere Date 4.11.21

EKU Criminal Justice Professor Pete Kraska

S16 E23 Length 28:00 Premiere Date 4.3.21

The Rise of Anti-Asian Violence

S16 E22 Length 27:32 Premiere Date 3.28.21

Authors Prisha Hedau, Carly Muetterties and Maddie Shepard

S16 E21 Length 28:21 Premiere Date 3.21.21

Charles Booker

S16 E20 Length 28:27 Premiere Date 3.14.21

Mental Health and COVID-19

S16 E19 Length 28:39 Premiere Date 2.14.21

Community Activist Christopher 2X

S16 E18 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 2.7.21

Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Keith Jackson

S16 E17 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 1.31.21

A Mission to End Institutional Racism in Kentucky

S16 E16 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 1.24.21

Celebrating the Urban League of Lexington-Fayette County

S16 E15 Length 28:33 Premiere Date 1.17.21

Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman

S16 E14 Length 27:06 Premiere Date 1.10.21

Caroline Randall Williams

S16 E13 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 12.20.20

Amy Luttrell and Adria Johnson

S16 E12 Length 28:12 Premiere Date 12.13.20

Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason Glass

S16 E11 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 11.22.20

Louisville Metro Police Interim Chief Yvette Gentry

S16 E10 Length 28:11 Premiere Date 11.15.20

Jecorey Arthur and Quintez Brown

S16 E9 Length 27:31 Premiere Date 11.8.20

Terrance Sullivan

S16 E8 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 11.1.20

2020 Election Preview with Colmon Elridge and Tres Watson

S16 E7 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 10.25.20

Beth Howard and Michael Harrington; Devine Carama

S16 E6 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 10.18.20

Nana Ama Aya Bullock and Muriel Harris

S16 E5 Length 28:26 Premiere Date 10.11.20

Betsy Johnson, Saundra Ardrey

S16 E4 Length 28:41 Premiere Date 10.4.20

Fabian Alvarez, Leyda Becker and Mercedes Harn

S16 E3 Length 28:06 Premiere Date 9.27.20

Devine Carama; Marjorie Guyon and Barry Darnell Burton

S16 E2 Length 28:46 Premiere Date 9.20.20

Marsha Weinstein

S16 E1 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 9.11.20

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