At the Wan Chai office of youth empowerment charity Kids4Kids, colourful postcards with uplifting messages and drawings are spread out on a table. “Thank you – you are a lifesaver but remember to look after yourself, too,” reads one. “Thank you for being so brave and for your tireless work every day. We really appreciate it,” reads another. The postcards are part of a student-led “Colour Away Covid” project that gives members of the Hong Kong public an opportunity to send words of appreciation to the city’s overworked frontline health care workers, and to remind them of the importance of self-care . “We wanted to thank hospital workers for working so hard, not just during Covid-19, but at all times,” says project team member Hui Yu-hang, a student at Island School who, with other project members, has spent time at Bookazine locations throughout the city inviting people to write inspiring and kind messages on the postcards. Hui, 16, says the project also aims to raise awareness about mental health issues and how the pandemic is taking a toll on frontline health care workers who are battling isolation and loneliness. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Colour Away Covid (@colour.away.covid) “We heard how some health care workers had to take week-long shifts, and not see their families for weeks, even months … We just wanted them to know they were appreciated by the Hong Kong community,” says Hui, adding each postcard has contact information for Hong Kong mental health support groups the Samaritans and Mind HK . Project team member Yuka Suzuki says the isolation students experienced made them better understand how medical workers were feeling during the global pandemic. Coronavirus: Hong Kong doctor shares his fears and ways of coping “Not being able to go to school, or see our friends face-to face, was a bit tough on our mental health and we realised that if we’re feeling this way, imagine how the medical workers are feeling?” says the 16-year-old Island School student. “One time while volunteering at a Bookazine store, a mother, father and three kids walked in and the mum was really interested in our project. She said that as a nurse, she was really thankful for what we were doing.” An article published last month in medical journal The Lancet explores just how heavy a toll Covid-19 is taking on health care workers globally. It highlights how the fear of transmitting the virus led many health professionals to isolate from their families for months, while working remotely and being shunned by community members further contributed to loneliness . The Lancet report cites a Chinese study that compiled data on 33,000 health care workers treating patients with Covid-19. The study reported high rates of depression (50 per cent), anxiety (45 per cent), insomnia (34 per cent), and distress (72 per cent). It also looked at studies from Italy and France that reported a high prevalence of depressive symptoms, post-traumatic stress disorder and burnout among health care workers. Kids4Kids executive director Mabel Sieh says the “Colour Away Covid” project falls under the charity’s Action for a Cause programme that works towards creating a community of changemakers in Hong Kong. Sieh says student projects accepted under the programme receive HK$3,000 (US$390) in seed funding and a mentor for six months, “so they can turn their community project ideas into reality”. “We supported the ‘Colour Away Covid’ postcard project because it was a simple yet positive idea, allowing members of the public to pay tribute to our frontline workers who have done so much for the city but are under-recognised,” says Sieh. The “Colour Away Covid” initiative is one of the many acts of kindness shown by members of the public globally. In Europe, clapping campaigns have been a popular way for the public to show support for health care workers. It started in Italy in March 2020, with Spain, France and Britain following suit. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Singapore Medical Association (@sgartforhcw) In Singapore, art has also been embraced to show support for health care workers with initiatives such as #SGartforHCW and cheerforthem.sg. Kids4Kids is seeking donations to its “Action for a Cause” programme. Supporters can donate via its website .