COVID-19 affects us all, but not all in the same way!

COVID-19 has reached nearly every corner of the planet and continues to spread at a swift pace, upending our daily lives and leaving us with feelings of uncertainty and anxiety.

Living through a pandemic

Immediate action taken by the government and large organizations in the medical field have been focused on crisis mitigation: slowing the spread of the virus, finding and distributing tests, extending access to telehealth services, and expediting vaccine development. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the psychological effects of this pandemic will impact every person at all levels of our communities. The experience of living through a pandemic will impact each of us differently, depending on countless factors, such as race, ethnicity, financial situation, access to and quality of health care received, community, social and familial support, and age. The ongoing turmoil and constant stressors present in our daily lives will have immediate and long-lasting mental health effects. Therefore, we cannot ignore the widespread mental health repercussions this pandemic will create.

About the challenge

Focus areas

Solutions could be prototypes or models, but must address mental health and well-being using real data. 

Data sets

Explore the XPRIZE Data Collaborative Mental Health Sandbox or bring your own data to identify the impacts of COVID-19 on sociological and mental health well-being in the community. 


Leverage the latest in data science, machine learning, and AI tools within your team’s dedicated machine learning sandbox to develop an innovative solution that can help improve the health across the country.


The solutions should be such that they can be extended and expanded upon. You will be judged based on: 

  • Completeness and transferability
  • Effectiveness and efficiency
  • Design and usability
  • Creativity and innovation

Building for users: 

Make sure you have a clear user in mind! 

  • Health care providers and front-line workers (clinician burnout)
  • Low-income communities (lack of local resources, greater economic instability)
  • Patient experiences (isolation, recovery) 
  • General civilian population (fear of public spaces, returning to work, navigating new social norms)

The Prizes

The winning teams will have the opportunity to pitch solutions to the Anthem, IBM, XPRIZE Pandemic Alliance, and Beacon Health executive leadership teams for consideration in building and launching these solutions across the globe. 

Qualifying participants will also have the opportunity to

  • Interview for an internship within Anthem Digital
  • Participate in the Anthem Digital Incubator
  • Each student team member will receive the opportunity to interview for a potential role at IBM.
  • Winning team members will split $2000 cash

Check out the timeline for key dates

Review the key dates. This challenge is unique because judges are offering feedback prior to the challenge kickoff. Take advantage of this opportunity for expert input by getting your idea in no later than September 11. Get your ideas in early for a greater chance of receiving feedback.

four people sitting in front of IBM murals

How it works

In this Call for Code Spot Challenge, you will work in teams of 4-5 people to address issues of  mental health due to crises by analyzing data sets.


Register for a free IBM Cloud account, which you can use to build your solution. Then finalize your registration with our university partners. Even if you don’t have an idea or a team yet, sign up because spots are limited.

Join Slack

In the Slack workspace, you’ll be able to find other participants, join or build teams, brainstorm and collaborate on ideas, and communicate with the challenge Champions and Subject Matter Experts. Please join the #mental-health-challenge and #mental-health-teambuilding channels.

Submit ideas

Our team of Subject Matter Experts (Data Specialists, Digital Health Mentors, and Designers) will review your initial ideas so that they can guide you towards optimized problem framing, the right data sets, answer your questions, and ultimately, help you build a more robust solution.

Start building

Once the challenge kicks off on September 12, work with your team and mentors to design and build a mental health solution that can be used today, tomorrow, and in the future. Be creative and build something novel. And remember, we are here to help.


Here are some helpful resources you can use to make the most of your project

An introduction to Enterprise Design Thinking
Solve human problems. The activities we’ll share in this session will help your team to converge around a specific, human-centered problem, brainstorm big ideas, and turn your ideas into an impactful pitch. This session will also help your projects excel in aspects of design, usability, creativity, and innovation. 

Our Partners

About Call for Code

Created by David Clark Cause and supported by Founding Partner IBM and Charitable Partner United Nations Human Rights, Call for Code invites developers and problem solvers around the world to build solutions that fight back against the most pressing issues of our time. Together with The Linux Foundation, top solutions are open sourced and deployed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Challenge details
  • A Call for Code Spot Challenge offers a focused question for participants to solve using technology for the greater good.

  • Participation in this spot challenge is limited to undergraduate and graduate students of any major at participating universities.

  • If you fit the description of who can participate, register here.

  • Call for Code Spot Challenges allow us to facilitate the creation of tech for good solutions outside of the Call for Code Global Challenge and Call for Code IBM Challenge time frames. The theme of the Call for Code Spot Challenge does not necessarily fall in line with the theme(s) of the Call for Code Global Challenge. Call for Code Spot Challenge solutions are not eligible for any of the prizes offered by the Call for Code Global Challenge.

  • You will have the opportunity to join or create a team during the registration/idea submission phase between August 17 – September 11. Individuals looking to join a team will connect via slack in the #mental-health-teambuilding channel.

  • On August 17, idea submission will open. You and your team will be asked to submit the following (2500 character max):
    • Team Name
    • Team Member Names
    • Describe your user. – What is their current experience? How could it be improved?
    • What problem is your project designed to solve? What value does this bring to your users?
    • What data sets do you plan on using?
    • Tie it all together. Provide a brief five sentence pitch of your idea.
    • Are there any particular areas in your project you think need support?
  • The winning teams will have the opportunity to pitch solutions to the Anthem, IBM, the XPRIZE Pandemic Alliance, and Beacon Health executive leadership teams for consideration in building and launching these solutions across the globe. 

    Qualifying participants will also have the opportunity to interview for an internship within Anthem Digital or participate in the Anthem Digital Incubator.

Anthem takes the privacy and security of its data and the personal information of consumers very seriously. We are committed to safeguarding our members’ data, including their Protected Health Information (PHI) and Personally Identifiable Information (PII).  No identifiable Anthem member data is used in the Data Collaborative.