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June 18, 2024

Previous patient of Gardner mental health services nonprofit named new CEO

A man wears a grey suit jacket and light blue button down. Photo I Courtesy of GAAMHA Shawn Hayden, president and CEO of GAAMHA in Gardner

GAAMHA, a Gardner-based mental health services nonprofit, has promoted long-time employee and previous patient, Shawn Hayden, to president and CEO.

GAAMHA, formerly known as Gardner Athol Area Mental Health Association, provides services and treatments to individuals with intellectual disabilities and those living with substance-use disorders. 

Hayden has worked for the nonprofit for 13 years and most recently acted as vice president, responsible for the startup and growth of GAAMHA’s substance-use disorder division, before transitioning into his new roles, according to a June 4 press release from GAAMHA. 

“The opportunity to lead this organization, which I credit with helping to save my life when I was struggling to find my own path to recovery from substance-use disorder, is incredibly humbling and an honor far beyond what I would have dared to wish for when I entered GAAMHA’s Pathway House program on June 4, 2009,” Hayden said in the release.

Hayden's promotion follows the resignation of Tracy Hutchinson, who worked for GAAHMA for more than 15 years.

Michelle Dunn will succeed Hayden as vice president, having most recently acted as assistant vice president of the organization’s substance-use disorders division. 

GAAHMA has 15 locations throughout Central Massachusetts including those in Gardner, Leominster, and Athol. 

“Shawn’s dedication to GAAMHA is unparalleled. His ability to grow our organization responsibly, advocate for GAAMHA within the community and with elected officials as well as his ability to lead and motivate our employees makes him the perfect choice as GAAMHA’s next president & CEO,” Joe Potvin, chairperson of GAAMHA’s board of directors, said in the release.

GAAMHA generated nearly $12.3 million in revenue and had $10.8 million in assets in 2023, according to the nonprofit financial tracking service GuideStar. 

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