Growing need for ‘sober houses’

The increase seen at Link House isn't an isolated phenomenon. As Massachusetts wrestles with a deadly outbreak of heroin and prescription drug abuse, increasing demand for long-term recovery beds has health officials turning to group treatment homes such as Link House, and "sober homes" for much-needed housing and recovery. There are several of the latter in greater Newburyport, including The Elms and Progress House in Amesbury.

Link House Appoints Christine Turner to Succeed Gary Gastman as Executive Director

To bring new vision, strategic planning, and continued financial stability to the organization

Amesbury, MA September 19, 2023 – Link House, Inc., a leading nonprofit provider of addiction and mental health services in the greater Newburyport community, today announced that Christine Turner has been named executive director to succeed Gary Gastman who is in his ninth year in the position and steps down on October 20. In this role, Turner, Link House’s first female executive director, will oversee aspects of the agency’s operations.

With Link House since 2019 and currently the senior director of services, Turner oversees all aspects of Link House’s residential and outpatient treatment programs, bringing more than 25 years of experience leading human service organizations to this role.

Prior to joining Link House, Turner held leadership positions at Lowell House in Tewksbury, where she served as the clinical director for women’s treatment services and was instrumental in procuring grant funding for the development and oversight of specialized addiction treatment programming for women. Turner was also the director of the Department of Public Health-funded Community and Residential Substance Abuse Services at The Psychological Center in Lawrence.

“After a four-month national search, Chris was found to be the best choice to lead the organization. Chris brings several decades of experience in the substance abuse and mental health arena and has been instrumental in our organization’s successes since she arrived at Link House. The board and I have complete confidence in Chris’s ability to bring new vision, strategic planning, and continued financial stability to our organization,” says outgoing executive director Gary Gastman.

Tyler Livermore, president of the Link House board, noted, “The board is thrilled that Chris has accepted this new role. She has worked continuously to improve our programs and the services that we provide, prioritizing professionalism and compassion. I can’t imagine a better outcome of our search and extend my sincere thanks to the search committee for their terrific work.”

“I chose to take on this role after working beside Gary for the past four-and-a-half years,” says incoming executive director, Chris Turner. “Addiction and mental health challenges are on the rise post-Covid. Kids and adults are experiencing anxiety and depression like we have not seen before. People are feeling disconnected and lonely. I look forward to continuing to grow and develop our services, helping those in need overcome these challenges by providing a welcoming, kind, and compassionate place where they can rebuild their lives with dignity and hope.”

About Link House

Since Link House was founded in 1972, the organization has continuously evolved to meet a growing need for mental health services in the greater Newburyport community. What began as a single residential program for men struggling with addiction to alcohol, today Link House runs five residential programs for men and women with 118 beds in total, and two outpatient programs — the Center for Behavioral Health (CBH) for adults, and the Children and Teen Center for Help (CATCH), for young people ages five to 18.

Over its history, Link House has helped more than 6,500 individuals improve their mental well being and take positive steps toward living sober, independent, and productive lives. The organization embraces a supportive philosophy that addresses the behavioral health challenges that underly substance use disorders at every stage of the recovery process, and provides wraparound services aimed at making it possible for its clients to build healthy, productive, and meaningful lives.

To learn more about Link House, please visit:

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Kelly Martin
Link House

At Link House, too few beds to serve needs

Gary Gastman, the new executive director for Link House, Inc., sees the frustrating every day. The non-profit umbrella corporation headquartered in Salisbury, Link House, Inc. runs substance abuse recovery initiatives for both men and women at facilities in Newburyport, Salisbury and Amesbury, including Link House, the Maris Center for Women, Progress House, the Elms of Amesbury and Moore's Way.

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"This is a very serious house; you become friends very quickly here because we're all committed to the same thing," Huberdeau said. "Link House has a reputation of being a hard house to get through. We're all very serious about recovery here. This is a non working house; we can't work for the first five months because we're here to work on ourselves."