Rescue teams, firefighters and police were alerted to the incident just before 11am today.
A "despondent" man was spoken to by officers and eventually was backed to safety by a Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service line rescue team.
Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team said on its Facebook page: "Tasked to Marsden re reported despondent male on cliff edge to south of Marsden Grotto, South Shields.
"Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team and South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade provided cliff top support to Northumbria Police during initial stages, with Tynemouth ILB standing off to the north.
"On arrival of Tyne and Wear Fire & Rescue Service, CRT members redeployed to beach with North East Ambulance Service Hazardous Area Response Team paramedic.
"After protracted engagement by police negotiators, the male was assisted from a promontory by TWFRS line rescue team and handed into the care of the police."
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: "At 10.58am today, police received a report of concern for a man near The Marsden Grotto in South Shields.
"Police attended the scene and located the individual who received support from officers.”