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To bring new vision, strategic planning, and continued financial stability to the organization
Amesbury, MA August 29, 2023 – Link House, Inc., a leading nonprofit provider of mental health services in the greater Newburyport community, today announced that Christine Turner has been named executive director to succeed Gary Gastman who has spent the past 8 years 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 towards 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: https://www.linkhouseinc.org
To the editor:
Christian Wade’s September 18 article, Lawmakers seek to ease backlog of “stuck” kids, shines a welcome spotlight on many of the barriers facing children and families – particularly those from low-income households – seeking to access behavioral health care. In the face of an unprecedented mental health crisis for children and teens coupled with a severe shortage of clinicians, we must look for ways not only to prevent children from being stranded in hospitals but to prevent them from landing in the hospital in the first place.
Here at the nonprofit Children and Teen Center for Help (CATCH) in Amesbury, a program of Link House, our focus is prevention. Ninety-five percent of the children we serve are insured by MassHealth, and many have complex behavioral health care needs. Half are experiencing school failure, and many have a parent who is struggling with substance use disorder. About 20% are being followed by the Department of Children and Families, close to 30% of those under 12 are living with or have been adopted by a grandparent or other extended family member, and 12% are in foster care.
CATCH currently serves 80 children and teens, including on location in five local schools, but there are many more on our waiting list in need of care. We’re working to hire additional staff to meet the need and hope that we can provide support to some of these young people before they experience a crisis that would send them to the emergency room or a residential program. Like many other nonprofit organizations, we face the intertwined challenges of a state-wide shortage of qualified staff and funding constraints that limit our ability to offer competitive wages to attract and retain qualified candidates, particularly for young people worried about paying off student loans.
Governor Maura Healey’s pledge to increase funding and resources to expand the number of beds and provide more incentives to alleviate the workforce shortage is a positive step. We urge elected officials at every level to look at the entire spectrum of behavioral health care services as they work to alleviate the behavioral health crisis for children in Massachusetts. CATCH is one such invaluable service on that spectrum. We could reach more children and teens to do essential prevention work, and keep children and teens out of the hospital, with the allocation of increased resources right now.
Children and Teen Center for Help
The Newburyport Bank Charitable Foundation has donated $15,000 to Link House, Inc. The donation will be used specifically for the purchase of new bedroom furniture for its Progress House longer-term residential housing program located in Amesbury, MA.
Link House, Inc., provides residential programs in Salisbury, Newburyport and Amesbury for men and women who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions. The non-profit organization was founded in 1972 and has successfully served more than 5,500 men and women with their gender-specific substance use recovery programs. Progress House itself is a longer-term residential program where 25 men work on their recovery in a highly supportive, safe, and sober environment for a period of up to two years.
“Sadly, substance abuse had been on the rise, and the recent Pandemic exacerbated that,” stated Lloyd L. Hamm, President & CEO of Newburyport Bank. “Its impact on individuals, their families, and society at large are profound. Fortunately, we have in our midst a wonderful organization like Link House that tackles the issue head-on. Their multifaceted programs address substance abuse at its core, and provide a path forward for those affected. The work they do is vital to the long-term sustainability of our communities and we’re proud to support their efforts.”
About Newburyport Bank
Newburyport Bank is a state-chartered mutual savings bank headquartered in Newburyport, MA. The Bank was founded in 1854 and currently has 11 locations in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and over $1.4 billion in assets. Deposits at Newburyport Bank are federally insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), with excess insurance provided by the Depositors Insurance Fund (DIF). As the premier full-service community bank in the Greater Seacoast Region, the Bank offers a complete range of personal and business products and services, as well as the most advanced technologies in online and mobile banking. In addition to its ongoing commitment to the needs of the community, in 2003, the Newburyport Bank Charitable Foundation was created to further carry out the Bank’s long history of community involvement by providing grants to local nonprofit organizations. For further information call toll-free 844-639-3483, or visit the Bank’s website at www.newburyportbank.com.
Link House, Inc. was recently chosen by the Cummings Foundation to receive a $100,000 grant which will be paid out during the next three years. The funds will be used to expand our Recovery Coach Program. “We are grateful to receive the Cummings Foundation grant as it will assist us in expanding our Recovery Coach Program. This vital program helps remove barriers and remove obstacles to recovery. The grant will help us expand the program to help individuals who are struggling with substance use disorders to manage their substance use disorder and mental health to improve their mental well-being,” said executive director Gary Gastman, Ph.D.