Autossh is a program to start an instance of ssh and monitor it, restarting it as necessary should it die or stop passing traffic. The idea is from rstunnel (Reliable SSH Tunnel), but implemented in C. Connection monitoring is done using a loop of port forwardings. It backs off on the rate of connection attempts when experiencing rapid failures such as connection refused.
Install autossh in debian/ubuntu:
#aptitude install autossh
This will complete the installation