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Lanterns Flicker

Catalogue Number:  YCO001
Producers:  Collins, Yoni
Directors:  Collins, Yoni
Producing Agencies:  Yoni Collins Film and Video Production
Subject:  Canadian History, Canadian Social Issues, Documentary, Guidance, Health, History, Music, Psychology, Social Issues, Social Sciences
Language:  English
Grade Level:  9 - 12, Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin:  Canada
Copyright Year:  2023
Running Time:  14:19

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Canadian Armed Forces veteran, Dennis Mackenzie, returned from Afghanistan to a battle with severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from the war. After trying many methods of healing, Dennis turned to music and song-writing. With the help of PEI musician Dennis Ellsworth, he wrote and recorded his debut album “The Guardian Angel Platoon” about his experiences from enlistment, through the war, to the challenges of coming back home to PTSD and his journey of healing.

When Dennis left the military, he did not tell anyone about his PTSD diagnosis due to the stigma around mental health. Several of his friends from the military were taking their own lives because of PTSD and because of the lack of openness and support. More Canadian veterans have now lost their lives to suicide since the Afghanistan War than Canadian soldiers during the war itself.

After Dennis’s closest friend and fellow veteran took his own life in 2018, Dennis dedicated himself to raising awareness and breaking the stigma. His song “Lanterns”, the single from his album, is about honouring the veterans lost to suicide, PTSD, and mental illness who are not talked about or remembered on Remembrance Day.  As part of this mission Dennis created a lantern pin to be worn alongside the poppy. The poppy symbolizes those that were lost on the battlefield, while the lantern symbolizes those lost off the battlefield. Through his music and activism, Dennis Mackenzie, raises awareness of veteran suicide and mental health, and inspires others to talk about mental health openly and to embrace the healing power of music.


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