News / Team Engages with Mental Health Advocate Johnny Crowder at the 2024 Phoenix Retreat Team Engages with Mental Health Advocate Johnny Crowder at the 2024 Phoenix Retreat

Dr. Malasri Chaudhery-Malgeri, Ph.D.
 April 26th, 2024

Key Points

  • Johnny Crowder spoke at's retreat in Arizona.
  • He created a unique app, Cope Notes, to offer mental health support.
  • Our team enjoyed speaking with Johnny after his insightful presentation.

During our 2024 winter retreat in Phoenix, Arizona, the team at was privileged to meet and glean insights from Johnny Crowder, an innovator in the field of mental health advocacy.

In a candid revelation about his personal struggles with mental health, Johnny Crowder shed light on the lack of resources he encountered while seeking help. His frustration with finding the right tools led him on a journey to innovate within the mental health space. Crowder, who grapples with memory loss, a side effect of his medication, found himself relying on numerous sticky notes filled with affirmations and reminders to counteract his forgetfulness. 

In an emotionally charged retelling, Johnny shared the bitter disappointment of encountering his musical hero—a moment he had dreamed of for years as an aspiring musician. The long-awaited introduction took an unsettling turn when, instead of the supportive encounter he’d envisioned, his idol scornfully mocked those with mental health conditions. The painful irony of this pivotal moment wasn’t just in the mocking tone his idol used, but in the stark contrast it presented to the uplifting and empowering messages woven into the very music that had propelled Johnny’s own artistic journey. Despite the disillusionment, this episode became a defining one for Johnny, fueling him with a resolve to pursue his passion with even greater dedication. He vowed to cherish and uplift others on their paths, never forgetting the sting of his own experience. 

The Beginnings of Cope Notes And Its Promising Future

Crowder’s initial venture provided complimentary peer support and mental health advice. He used feedback from this venture to inform and fuel his current project, Cope Notes, which offers support through texts. The application sends affirming messages, becoming a vanguard in text-based mental health assistance.

Crowder highlights how Cope Notes endeavors to avoid habituation1, the brain’s tendency to tune out repetitive stimuli. By leveraging the psychology behind SMS notifications, typically reserved for personal contacts, Cope Notes captures the user’s attention more effectively. The app ensures novelty in its messages, all crafted by real people to maintain a genuine human connection.

At the core of Cope Notes’ technology is an algorithm that unpredictably selects the timing and recipient of each message from a repository developed by mental health professionals. This strategy ensures each user has a unique experience, reinforcing the service’s personalized touch.

Drawing from his educational background in psychology and public health, Johnny’s commitment goes beyond personal necessity. He aspires to improve access to mental health tools and bolster public health education. His own aversion to traditional therapy softened as he discovered and developed tools that benefitted not just himself but could aid others. Crowder’s experience underscores a transformative journey from avoidance to advocacy.

The brilliance behind Cope Notes lies in recognizing the human brain’s intricacies—how it engages with and benefits from unexpected, positive interventions. Crowder envisions stronger unity within the recovery community through tools like Cope Notes. His definition of recovery, “Recovery is a continuous dedication to living a healthy life,” encapsulates his vision for a future where support is readily accessible. 

A Refreshing and Insightful Experience

Johnny Crowder praised the culture of (formerly RehabPath), highlighting his deep connection with our group due to their shared understanding of recovery. He appreciated their insight into his experiences and the work they do to help people build healthier futures. Crowder spoke highly of the team, especially Cliff McDonald, Chief Growth Officer, and Amanda Uphoff, Chief of Staff, for their roles in arranging his participation in the retreat, which felt both impactful and intimate despite his 24-hour turnaround. He noted how well he fit in with our group due to the common bond of recovery. His time was filled with engaging activities and discussions, reinforcing the bond with his hosts and the team. Johnny expressed gratitude for the hospitality he received and anticipated a promising ongoing collaboration between Cope Notes® and 

For more information about Cope Notes visit:

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