In May of 2020, Delvinia and the Centre for Addiction and Mental health (CAMH) came together to run a study on the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health and substance use of Canadians. What made this project truly unique, however, is the decision to make all of the data completely available to the public, free of charge. To date, over 1,000 unique individuals have accessed this data on the Methodify by Delvinia platform.  

The users have come from all sectors, including government, academia, healthcare, non-profits, and corporations. Some of the organizations that have accessed the data include the Office of the Prime Minister, University of Toronto, Health Canada, Manulife, Ipsos, L’Oréal, and the National Post.

The data has proven to be invaluable to a variety of pursuits. It has been used for coursework in universities, to apply for grants in non-profits, to inform colleagues on the impact of COVID on clients, to advise on mental health of secondary students during COVID, and to better prepare healthcare professionals for ramifications and expectations. Its impact is far reaching, and it is only possible because of the decision to make the data completely open access.

“To see this data being accessed by so many people, from so many sectors, is truly awe-inspiring,” says Delvinia President and Chief Innovation Officer Steve Mast. “When we started this project, we wanted to find a small way to help out during a difficult time. Its reach has surpassed all of our expectations and truly proven the importance of Open Data to the collective good.”

Since May 2020, 7 surveys have been run at strategic moments throughout the pandemic, with a total of over 7,000 Canadians responding. To make not only this quantity, but this high-quality level of data available publicly is very uncommon in the healthcare space. Working together with Delvinia, CAMH was able to secure ethics approval in less than two weeks – a record time compared to the standard 4-8 weeks. This project exemplifies the power of both collaboration and open data to address difficult issues, even during challenging times.

The data can be accessed here.