As we noted, Dr. Phil will feature Gia’s mother, Donna Micheletti, and Bachelor Jake Pavelka on the opening episode of the season. Last week, Gia’s representative, Penelope Jean Hayes, shared more information on the show, which has already been taped. The hour-long broadcast is said to include a “raw and heartfelt conversation” about Gia’s suicide, featuring both Donna and Penelope speaking to Dr. Phil McGraw.
“I wanted an opportunity to tell my daughter’s story and give some background into Gia’s struggles,” Donna said in a press release. “My hope is that talking about Gia’s death will be helpful for our family and be a message to others in emotional pain. As a respected professional, Dr. Phil was the best choice in having this conversation. We are very grateful for the opportunity to communicate through Dr. Phil’s platform.”
Penelope added, “Gia Allemand’s death has been a shock and bewilderment to many who loved her and watched her on television over the last number of years. We vetted numerous options for the right outlet for a conversation about her life and death and open a greater discussion about suicide. Dr. Phil was by far the best choice for us to accomplish that as he shares with us the common intention to help those struggling with emotional health issues and bring exposure to a topic that is still a social taboo to talk about and embrace openly and honestly.”
As we've already seen in a short preview of the interview, Gia's mom revealed that she was on the phone with Gia when she took her own life. "I'm the closest person in the world to her and she didn't want to be alone when she left this world," Donna says. "So she wanted Mommy to be there, I guess."
Ryan, Gia’s boyfriend at the time of her death, was a huge part of her life for the more than two years they were together. He is the one who found her unresponsive in their New Orleans home on August 12. Still, this broadcast sounds like it’s focused on understanding suicide and mental/emotional health, as opposed to Gia’s relationship history or a deep look into the events that led up to her death. The topic is tragic, but the timing is apropos since it’s National Suicide Prevention Week and September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day.
Whatever happens on the show, we’re probably not going to be able to get through it without a box of tissues.